11-Year-Old Girl Helps Catch Attacker

Police: Girl's Actions Helped Catch Suspect

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK

    An 11-year-old Silver Spring girl fought off a man who had forced himself into her home Friday afternoon. 

    She noticed a strange man in the lobby of her apartment building on Slidell Avenue around 3 p.m., according to her statement to police. The girl recognized him as someone she had seen earlier that day on her way to school.

    The girl continued walking to her apartment, but when she tried to close the door, he forced his way inside. He grabbed her and sexually assaulted her.

    A 16-year-old male cousin, who was home at the time, heard her screams and ran to the living room to see what was going on. The attacker saw him and fled. The cousin chased the man out onto the street, while the girl called 911.

    Officers arrived and soon caught up the suspect. Taking him into custody wasn’t so easy, police say. They used a taser to subdue him.

    Surafeling Melese, 31, was charged with kidnapping, two counts of second-degree assault, fourth-degree sexual offense, burglary, stalking, and trespassing.

    Police credit the victim for what she did following the attack. "She acted very bravely and she did the right thing,"  said Lt. Paul Starks of the Montgomery County Police. 

    "Many of us might not have acted the way she did," said Starks. "She was able to call the police, give a description, let them know what was occurring and that allowed us to respond and take action when we got there."

    Melese is currently being held on a $250,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in court on Monday.