CULVER CITY, Calif. (KABC) -- Police are searching for a suspect who they say broke into a Culver City home and sexually assaulted a 12-year-old girl.
The incident happened early in the morning on Dec. 2, according to the Culver City Police Department.
Investigators say an adult man entered the home in the city's Blair Hills community and sexually assaulted the girl who was sleeping in her bed. He left the residence on foot.
"You never think it's going to happen to you or to yours. It very much can," said the girl's mother, Alexis.
Alexis says she was sleeping downstairs while her daughter was upstairs. The girl waited until she felt safe before getting help.
"He did tell her that there was a shooter at her window so I think in her mind, she really thought she was doing the best for her family."
Alexis woke up to her daughter by her side explaining what happened. They called 911, but by the time police arrived, the suspect was already gone.
Police say they're using all available resources to identify the suspect. The department on Tuesday released a surveillance photo of the suspect leaving the area in dark clothing and a beanie.
Authorities have not connected the suspect to any other part of the city.
"This is unique. It is very serious. This neighborhood is generally a quiet and low-crime area," said Jennifer Atenza, public information officer for the police department.
The girl's parents say they feel the support of their neighborhood in a search that keeps them up at night.
"I only get three or four hours at a time. But some is better than none. And she's doing OK at night so that's what I care about," Alexis added.
Anyone with information that could help identify and locate the suspect is urged to call authorities at (310) 253-6302.