Hero describes how he stopped attack on woman near ASU

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by Carina Sonn

azfamily.com

Posted on August 13, 2012 at 5:14 PM

Updated Saturday, Oct 26 at 12:25 PM

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TEMPE, Ariz. -- Police say a good samaritan stopped a rape just north of the ASU campus.

John Standifird-Berlinger, 21 was leaving his job at Subway at about 2:30 am, when he came across the crime in progress.

Police accuse Jeremiah Billie, 22, of attacking a woman while she was walking home from Mill Avenue early Saturday morning.

According to a spokesman for the Tempe Police Department, the suspect and the victim did not know each other.

Police say Billie approached the 29-year-old victim in the area of 6th Street and Forest Avenue and asked her for a light.

The victim lit the suspect's cigarette and continued to walk eastbound toward College Ave.

Police say Billie followed the victim, and he attempted to talk to her. The victim kept walking, but Billie allegedly grabbed the victim and forced her into a nearby alleyway just north of the university.

"Forces her into an alleyway, forces her down to the ground basically pins her arms to her side, he's on top of her," said Sgt. Jeffrey Glover. "Our suspect basically threatens her says, 'Stop screaming or I'll kill you,' during this point she's struggling and fighting."

Standifird-Berlinger, who was on his bike, saw what was going on and confronted the man.

"Asked them if they were alright and the girl asked me if I could help her, she was being raped," said the 21-year-old. "I went over and I pulled him off, pushed him and she ran around me."

Standifird-Berlinger says the suspect told him to get away and shoved him a few times. Eventually Billie ran away.

Tempe and ASU police officers responded to the call, set up a perimeter, and began searching for the suspect.

Billie was taken into custody and was booked into Tempe City Jail on one count of kidnapping, and one count of attempted sexual assault.

Standifird-Berlinger, who does not attend ASU says his objective was clear - separate the two.

And he didn't think twice about helping.

"When you see something like that why would you want to stop and think about it really?"

 Billie told police he went to a bar on Mill Avenue and did not remember leaving.

The victim sustained minor scratches and abrasions during the incident.

--

In written statement, Tempe Police Chief Tom Ryff stated, “There are over 10,000 new students arriving at ASU and the community colleges each fall.

Every year we work to provide education and prevent sexual assaults from happening in the first place by talking with community groups, giving safety presentations at the high schools and colleges – but we can’t do it alone.

We need the entire community to reinforce the message, help keep these numbers down, and prevent our kids from becoming victims.

One sexual assault is one too many.

Although this victim was not an ASU student, the importance of stressing personal safety, especially for a young woman traveling alone during late night and early morning hours is of paramount importance.”

Police released this list of safety tips that can help to minimize the chances of becoming a victim:

• Stay alert to your environment – alcohol dulls your instincts.
• Acquaintance rapes account for the far majority of rapes, and alcohol is involved in a majority of cases.
• While the majority of victims are female, males are also the victims of sexual assault.
• Decision-making ability is impaired as soon as any alcohol hits the system
• Travel in groups - avoid isolated areas or going with someone you do not know
• Let friends know where you are going and when you expect to return
• Have a buddy system before you go out – and stick together with your buddy
• Don’t ever remain in a “negative” situation.
• Be aware of the space and people around you
• It’s up to you – before you go out – to make the determination not to let substances or peer pressure influence safe decision making
• ‘DATE’ RAPE IS A SEXUAL ASSAULT. Don’t be ashamed to report. Don’t delay in reporting. Tempe Police are here to help.
• 9-1-1 in emergency and police non-emergency 480-350-8311

 

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