Man arrested, charged after two attempted rapes

By Jon Moss and Emily Wolfe

A 23-year-old man was charged with the attempted rape of two women in Oakland within the last three weeks. Eric Hernandez, a South Oakland resident, was arrested Tuesday and faces 12 charges between the two incidents, including two counts each of false imprisonment, unlawful restraint and simple assault.

According to two criminal complaints filed against Hernandez, the two women positively identified Hernandez from a photo array, and both described him using the phrase, “I just want some p*ssy,” during the alleged assault.

On July 11, a woman living on North Craig Street reported that she had been attacked at knife point by a Hispanic male, who attempted to rape her. The woman said she had let two maintenance workers into her apartment that morning to assess her broken air conditioner. Later, the two men returned and asked to use her microwave, leaving when the woman told them she didn’t have one.

At approximately 3 p.m., one of the men returned to her apartment alone and told her he needed to check her air conditioning again. The woman told police she began to grow suspicious when he locked the door after entering the apartment, which she then unlocked, and when he started to pace back and forth in her apartment.

The woman reported that he then pulled her to the ground and threatened her with an Exacto knife. She said he asked, “Do you want me to kill you?” and told her, “I just want some p*ssy.” The woman escaped his grasp and ran out of her apartment, with her attacker in pursuit. According to the criminal complaint, the attacker ripped her shirt off of her body as she exited the apartment complex.

The woman entered a business next door to the apartment building, where she asked for help, while the attacker ran in a different direction, she said. According to the complaint, the woman had visible injuries after the incident, including cuts and scratches on her face, back and neck.

Investigators used surveillance cameras and the woman’s testimony to identify Hernandez, charging him with attempted rape, false imprisonment, unlawful restraint and simple assault on July 25. 

Less than a week later, they arrested him after a Tuesday morning incident described in the second complaint filed against Hernandez. In the complaint, a female Pitt student told authorities she was attacked early Tuesday morning at the corner of O’Hara Street and University Place near Nordenberg Hall, which students were made aware of in a crime alert sent out later that day.

The second woman said she was walking home on O’Hara Street around 3:40 a.m. Tuesday when she noticed a man following her closely. According to the complaint, she said she walked toward Fifth Avenue, hoping to reach the guard station at Nordenberg Hall, but the man grabbed her from behind and pressed a hard, black object against her side. The woman described being thrown repeatedly to the ground while the man told her, “I just want some p*ssy.”

The woman told authorities that the man grabbed her bag, but that she was able to escape to the guard station at Nordenberg. Authorities later found the contents of her bag, except her cell phone, scattered on O’Hara Street, the complaint said.

After his arrest, Hernandez told police he was drunk Tuesday night and couldn’t remember the night clearly, later admitting to taking the woman’s phone and running away.

Bail is set at $10,000 with connection with the July 11 incident, which Hernandez has yet to post. He is currently being held in the Allegheny County Jail. His preliminary hearing will be held on August 8.

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