Editor's note: This story contains graphic details that some may find difficult to read.
DALLAS –– The ninth victim of the rapist targeting women near Fair Park can’t sleep. She’s depressed. She doesn’t want to venture outside her South Dallas home and she isn’t comfortable being around men.
“I don’t want to be nowhere alone, it’s hard for me to sleep –– I ain’t been to sleep,” she said during an interview with News 8 and The Dallas Morning News. “Every time I try to go to sleep, I jump. I think of that –– it always just runs through my head.”
She was raped on September 1. Dallas investigators say the man who attacked her had already sexually assaulted eight other women in a three-mile radius south of Fair Park. When the woman was raped, Dallas police had not alerted the public to any of those assaults.
“I just knew that he raped me,” the woman said.
The first attack occurred on June 22. Then on June 30. He struck again about a month later in late July; investigators aren’t sure of a precise date. He then raped six women between August 20 and September 1.
Police say he approaches his victims as they’re walking outside between midnight and 6 a.m. He points a gun at them and forces them to a secluded area where he rapes them.
The victim News 8 and The News spoke to was walking home from work at about 4:15 a.m. She said the man approached her from behind; she didn’t see him get out of a car, he just ran up to her with a gun.
She said she initially thought he was going to rob her and that would be that. The man ordered her to hand over her phone and wallet –– “he took everything from me,” she said.
According to a Dallas police incident report, the man then forced her to walk to a wooded area of a vacant lot and made her fall to her knees. She said he forced her to perform oral sex.
“I wasn’t cooperating so he hit me with the gun and he cocked the gun and he snatched my pants off and he raped me,” she said.
Afterward, the rapist again ordered her to her knees with her back turned to him. He told her not to move until he was gone. The report says the man fled west on Spring and turned southbound on Sutton Street.
“Something’s got to be done. I wasn’t dressed in no type of way. I was coming out of my uniform,” she said. “It’s too many kids around here for him to be going around raping people.”
On September 3, two days after the woman was raped, Dallas police went to the media and announced they were searching for a serial rapist. At that time, they knew of seven victims; two more have come forward since.
Maj. Jeff Cotner, head of the Dallas Police Department’s crimes against persons division, said investigators were unable to link the crimes until that day. They held off on an alert until they determined a serial rapist was on the loose. Police officials have repeatedly defended that decision amid criticism from the public and from city officials, including the councilwoman who represents the district where the rapes have happened.
"The two victims from June, the information we developed at the time did not indicate there was a serial [rapist]. We had this gap. We don't know –– that's part of our investigation –– why we had this large gap,” Cotner said on September 3, when Dallas police knew of seven victims. “ Since August 20 through September 1, we’ve had five occurrences. Certainly we could see the trend there.”
The ninth victim said she was “crushed” when she found out there were other women. She said Dallas police did not tell her of any other victims when they interviewed her. She said if she knew about any of the rapes she would have considered taking extra precautions.
“I would’ve stayed at my job until the morning,” she said. “But it was right up the street.”
The victim said she was not able to provide a description of her attacker; it was dark and he had a gun aimed at her head. But now, she says she feels unsafe in her neighborhood, where she’s lived for five years.
“I can’t say what I want to say to him because it’s something very evil,” she said. “I can’t say what I want to say to him and I'm never thinking nothing like this about nobody. But I do.”
Dallas police are awaiting results from a DNA sample found at a crime scene. They have stepped up patrols in the neighborhood: there are patrol cars, mounted officers and police on bikes patrolling through southern Dallas. Helicopters are on call to help. Undercover and plainclothes officers are dispersed through the neighborhood, said Deputy Chief Mike Coleman, head of the southwest patrol division.
Victims describe the assailant as a black man in his mid-20s to 30s who weighs 180 to 200 pounds and has worn a T-shirt and basketball shorts. He is said to cover his face with a mask or bandana. He wears oval or round prescription glasses with a gold metal rim and has fled the scene in a silver Honda or Volvo sedan.
Anyone who can help identify him is asked to call 214.373.8477. There is a $15,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and indictment.
Tanya Eiserer of The Dallas Morning News contributed to this report