A 26-year-old Fairfax County woman fought off an attacker who had entered her second-floor bedroom through an unlocked deck door early yesterday. Police said the assailant also might be responsible for two rapes and another recent assault in the same neighborhood, near the Dunn Loring-Merrifield Metro station.
The woman lives near Gallows Road and Park Tower Drive, a short walk from the Metro station and within a block or two of the other attacks.
She woke at 4:15 a.m. to find a man in her bedroom, screamed, then fought back as he came toward her, county police said.
The man fled the apartment, leaving behind a gray and black Puma warm-up jacket, which police photographed and displayed to the public through the news media.
In one of the earlier attacks, the assailant left a white T-shirt with a logo that included the words "Divers Club" and "Puerto Vallarta, Mexico."
The earlier assaults generated considerable fear in the Dunn Loring-Merrifield area, where many commuters walk to and from the station on wooded paths that lead to surrounding developments.
A 22-year-old woman was dragged into the woods from one of the paths and raped the night of Sept. 21, police said. On Oct. 7, a woman walking on another footpath about 9:40 p.m. was grabbed and knocked down, but her attacker ran when she screamed. Later that evening, a woman walking on a path was grabbed, forced into a secluded area and raped.
Police have increased patrols of the area in response to the attacks.
The first rape occurred just north of the Metro station and Interstate 66, near Stenwood Elementary School. The next two attacks took place to the south, near Livingstone Lane, which is off Park Tower Drive.
Police did not give the exact address of yesterday's attack and said it is not clear how the assailant got to the second-floor deck outside the woman's bedroom.
The victims, whose names were withheld by police to protect their privacy, each said their assailant was black and gave similar, but vague, descriptions.
The woman attacked yesterday said her assailant was in his twenties, about 5 feet 6 inches tall, with a medium build and wearing a white T-shirt and dark pants.
Those attacked earlier this month described someone 5 feet 2 inches to 5 feet 6 inches tall, with a thin build and short hair. The woman raped Sept. 21 gave the same description and said her attacker was in his twenties.
Authorities ask anyone with information on any of the assaults to call the Crime Solvers line, 866-411-8477 (TIPS), or the county non-emergency number, 703-061-2131.