ABC7 Exclusive: Beaten grandmother speaks

PACOIMA The grandmother has some bumps and bruises from the attempted sexual assault at Hansen Dam Park, but she is recovering. Meanwhile, police are searching for the man responsible for the very unusual and brazen attack.

Click in the Eyewitness News Story Window above to watch reports from Hansen Dam Park, including an exclusive interview with the victim.

Hansen Dam Park is a popular place for people to walk and do their workouts, but for Lorena Vasquez the pleasant setting turned ugly Thursday. Vasquez was brutally attacked by a man while taking a walk with her two-year-old granddaughter around 3 p.m.

"He was punching me on my face and in my jaw. He punched me like, about, maybe I would say like 20 times," said Vasquez.

She says she had just walked past the man, pushing her granddaughter in a stroller, when he lunged at her, knocked her down and started hitting her.

"He was running toward me and he just started hitting me, hitting me from the back and then just punching me. He dragged me, he threw me on the floor, and he wanted to rape me," said Vasquez.

With her granddaughter sitting a safe distance away in the stroller, Vasquez screamed and tried to fit back.

"I was screaming, like, for someone to hear me. And he just say, he told me, 'Just let me do it, just let me do it. Be quiet,'" said Vasquez.

She says the suspect finally ran away, possibly scared off by her screams. Vasquez is happy she was able to keep her granddaughter safe.

"If this guy would knock me off unconscious, what was going to happen to her. I was very worried about her," said Vasquez.

People who visit the park regularly are upset to learn about the incident.

"I just started bringing my daughters and my granddaughter with us," said Jennie Medrano. "You know, I thought it's a nice day in the morning and to take her for a little walk and you're telling me this so it kind of surprises me that happened. It's scary."

"I'm a girl, and I don't know how to defend myself and I just try to be precautious about it," said Nery Solorio. "I don't want anything to happen to me."

Police are hoping that someone saw the attacker and can help them track the man down.

"Hansen Dam Park is usually pretty occupied with other people, so really, I don't know what would motivate somebody to do something like that," said Lt. Ingrid Braun from the LAPD. "Hopefully we'll be able to catch him. Maybe there's other witnesses out there who saw this gentleman in the park."

Police say the suspect is a Hispanic man between the ages of 18-22. He's said to be about 5'4" and 160 pounds. He was last seen wearing a red t-shirt and jeans.

If you have any information about the suspect, you're asked to call the LAPD Foothill Division at (818) 756-8861.

Eyewitness News reporter Subha Ravindhran contributed to this report.


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