Flagstaff rape suspect attacked undercover officer before arrest

Posted: Updated:
Gregory Woody Jr. By Jennifer Thomas Gregory Woody Jr. By Jennifer Thomas
By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- The Flagstaff Police Department says they’ve arrested the man suspected of committing multiple sexual assaults since the start of the year.

Police said Gregory Woody Jr., 22, was arrested Thursday for allegedly assaulting three women in the downtown Flagstaff area.

According to police, the first incident took place on Jan. 18 when a young woman was picked up by a Native American man in the downtown area and driven to an isolated location. The man then sexually assaulted the woman.

The woman wasn’t able to identify the man’s truck, but a Flagstaff officer noticed a white pickup in the area around the time of the crime.

The second incident occurred on July 13 when two men and a woman accepted a ride from a Native American man from downtown to their motel room.

The man was invited to stay at the motel room, but later that night he got into a confrontation with the two men.

The men left the motel, which is when the suspect attempted to sexually assault the female who was left behind.

At some point during their altercation, the man bit the woman, allowing police to obtain a swab of the bite mark.

Forensic evidence would later reveal that the suspect was the same man who was involved in the Jan. 18 incident.

The third incident took place on July 21 when a woman was approached by a Native American man while walking from the downtown area.

The suspect walked with the woman before eventually parting ways. He then approached the woman a short time later and sexually assaulted her.

Forensic evidence from the attack linked the suspect to the assaults on Jan. 18 and July 21. A fourth woman was also assaulted on Aug. 8, but there was no forensic evidence that could tie the incident to the other crimes.

On Aug. 9, an undercover Flagstaff Police officer working downtown saw a man who matched the description from the previous assaults.

The officer began speaking with the man, which is when he asked her if she would like a ride out of the downtown area.

The man also allegedly gave the officer multiple bear hugs and attempted to kiss her. He also threw the officer over his shoulder in a "fireman’s carry." The officer was able to escape the the suspect's embrace.

The officer and the man eventually parted ways, but not before the officer was able to get the license plate of the man’s white pickup truck.

Police said the man also followed the officer in his vehicle after they parted ways.

Officers began conducting surveillance on the subject, and he was eventually contacted and interviewed by a detective.

Police identified the man as Woody, at which time he consented to a swab.

On Thursday, police received word that the swab taken from Woody matched the DNA from the Jan. 18, July 13, and July 21 assaults.

Woody was subsequently taken into custody.

Police say the investigation into the case will continue, adding that they are also in contact with investigators in Colorado and Montana about investigations into similar incidents.