Tulsa Police say a woman was sexually assaulted, then stabbed in downtown

Posted at 1:34 AM, Jun 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-14 10:26:36-04

A woman has multiple stab wounds after police say a man attacked her in downtown Tulsa.

Officers say around 11:35 p.m. on Monday, they responded to the overpass at West Archer and Main Street.

They say the woman was sleeping under the bridge when a man attempted to sexually assault her.

When she woke up, officers say the suspect stabbed her seven times.

The victim managed to get away from the man and run to the Zin Bar for help.

Paramedics transported her to a hospital for treatment. Officers believe she will recover from her injuries.

Police are now searching for the man responsible. They describe him as a black male in his 20s, skinny build and wearing a white shirt.

Fears are growing about the attacker roaming the streets.

"Yeah, that could have been me," Shanae Mitchell, who has been homeless for about three weeks, said.

Mitchell said she recently fell on hard times that landed her on the streets. She said she is just trying to survive.

"It's been hard," Mitchell explained. "It's been very hard trying to find something to eat, just walking place to place to see if I can stay."

Mitchell said she left a situation she did not want to be in so she could better herself.

Darryl Qualls has been homeless on and off for almost the last five years.

"It's just day by day," Qualls said. "You just take it one day at at time. That's the way you do it down here. I never dreamed I would be homeless or unemployed or anything, but here I am."

Qualls sat where the attack happened hours later but did not know anything about it. When he found out, he said he could not fathom that happening to him or witnessing it.

To Mitchell, it was a kick while she is already down. When she was told what happened, it brought tears to her eyes. She said she has slept on the streets several times in the last few weeks. This was not something she feared before, but now she is worried.

"Being out on the streets and not knowing what other people are going to do is scary," Mitchell said.

Sgt. Bryan Bryden with Tulsa Police's Downtown Impact Unit said people should not be scared to be downtown.

He said for the last three years his team has been working to solve problems in the area and address new ones as they arise.

Some are speculating the attacker in Monday night's attack was a homeless person.

Sgt. Bryden said rarely do the homeless cause problems.

"Some of them who have some problems and do have bad interactions with the public and we try and get those folks help," Sgt. Bryden explained. "A lot of them have mental health problems, and 95-percent of the people with mental health issues aren't dangerous and don't do anything other than things are just a little bit different. It's not an issue really to worry about."

He said in the rare case of assaults in downtown, it is typically homeless on homeless.

Ultimately TPD wants to make sure crime is not a problem in the area.

Sgt. Bryden encouraged people to be aware of their surroundings and to call police if they do feel unsafe.

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