Police today arrested a 19-year-old man on suspicion of raping a woman who was walking with a male companion along a popular street in uptown Charlotte.
Police said the couple had been visiting the city for a night on the town and were returning to their hotel room when the assault happened.
The attack was reported Thursday at 1:45 a.m. in the 500 block of E. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, near the Charlotte Convention Center and blocks from some of the city’s most popular entertainment and tourist venues.
Police identified the suspect as Tevin Quayshawn Williams, who was charged in the past with committing robberies.
According to initial police reports, the couple were walking in the 200 block of East Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard when a man with a handgun forced them into an alley. The male victim was bound and the female was sexually assaulted. The suspect took from the couple a cell phone, wallet and both victims’ clothing.
Capt. Dave Johnson of CMPD said he can’t remember any case like this happening uptown. “It’s a heinous crime. It’s particularly disturbing,” he was quoted as saying in the Charlotte Observer.
Police called in a K-9 unit and CMPD helicopter to search for the attacker – a search that initially turned up no one, according to CMPD.
Williams was stopped at 3:27 a.m. and taken to police headquarters. He was later charged with two counts of 1st-degree rape, three counts of 1st-degree sex offense, two counts of 1st-degree kidnapping, two counts of armed robbery and possession of stolen firearm. Bond was set at more than $460,000.
Police did not say what evidence they found that linked Williams to the crime.
Johnson speculated that Williams was still in the area because he didn’t have access to a vehicle.
“We think that probably since his release from prison he’s been hanging around, just kind of laying his head where he can. Possibly homeless.”
According to jail records, Williams had been arrested at least four times previously in Mecklenburg County – twice on charges of robbery and twice for parole violations.
In a city that has seen recent spikes in nearly every category of crime, violent crime is relatively rare in uptown Charlotte.