Rape suspect is arrested

Baltimore man facing charges in robberies, sexual attacks is shot by police

December 23, 2005|By GUS G. SENTEMENTES | GUS G. SENTEMENTES,SUN REPORTER

Investigating a recent spate of robberies and sexual assaults in West Baltimore, city police detectives visited the home of a registered sex offender they considered a "person of interest." They knocked on his door Monday, but he wasn't home.

Early yesterday, after two more women reported being held up and raped within five hours, police said officers spotted the man, chased him into an alley and shot him after he pulled a gun and pointed it at them. The suspect was wounded in the leg and arrested.

At a news conference yesterday, police said rape and robbery charges are pending against Reginald M. Williams, 34, in connection with the attacks on the two women. Police said charges of attempted murder are pending as well. Williams is said to have drawn a gun on three officers. Police said they might be able to link the man to as many as 10 attacks in West Baltimore since Oct. 29, many clustered near his home in the 600 block of N. Carrollton Ave.

"He definitely knew he was being looked for [by police]," said Lt. Sandy Joyce, head of the sex crimes unit. "He was telling his victims, `What are you going to tell the police?'"

Joyce said the robberies began in late October by a man using a silver-colored handgun. At first, the man robbed women in street encounters late at night or early in the morning. The attacks escalated to include sexual assault, attempted rape, and rape, Joyce said.

"We truly believed that this was a serial rapist," Joyce said.

Williams was released from prison in January after serving a 13-year sentence for rape and armed robbery for five attacks in Northwest Baltimore, police said. He might have held a job at a fast-food restaurant, police said, while he remained under mandatory supervision by the state. He was assigned to a probation officer on his release from prison, according to a spokeswoman for the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, which maintains the statewide sex offender registry.

Karen V. Poe, the spokeswoman, said he was compliant with all the terms of his supervision, including keeping his address updated on the state registry, which lists Williams on its Web site in the category of "sexually violent offenders."

"He had regular contact with his probation agent, and he met all the terms of his probation," Poe said.

City police said they believe that the man they have sought might be responsible for attacks on women in a several-block area west of Martin Luther King Boulevard, and near West Franklin Street. Williams lived near some of the attack sites.

Police said they received numerous tips after they announced last week that they were seeking a suspect in a string of robberies and sexual assaults, and released a sketch of a suspect to the public. Police said they had sex crimes detectives and specialized police units in the Western and Central districts looking for the man thought responsible for the attacks.

Until his arrest yesterday, Williams had surfaced only as a person of interest, said Matt Jablow, a police spokesman.

Williams was being treated yesterday for non-life-threatening injuries at an undisclosed hospital, police said.

Joyce said investigators were interviewing victims again, showing them the suspect's photo to see if they could identify him.

Police released a timeline of the attacks. They said:

Oct. 29, a woman was robbed in the 600 block of W. Frank- lin St.

Nov. 12, a woman was robbed in the 200 block of N. Schroeder St.

Nov. 13, a woman was robbed and sexually assaulted in the 700 block of W. Saratoga St. That same day, a woman was robbed by an assailant who also attempted to rape her in the 500 block of N. Schroeder St.

Nov. 15, a woman was robbed and nearly raped in the 600 block of W. Franklin St.

Dec. 5, a woman was robbed and sexually assaulted in the 900 block of Sarah Ann St.

Dec. 8, a woman was robbed and sexually assaulted in the 1200 block of Rankin Place.

Dec. 14, a woman was raped and robbed in the 900 block of N. Schroeder St.

After that day's early-morning attack, police released a sketch of the possible suspect. Police said they believe that the same suspect committed two more attacks, late Dec. 21 and early Dec. 22, before they made an arrest.

gus.sentementes@baltsun.com

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