AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Police are looking for a man they say attacked a woman walking in a neighborhood where people usually feel safe. The sex crimes unit is investigating the area on Mueller boulevard, right by The Thinkery and Dell Children’s Medical Center.
A Safe Space for Neighbors
“A lot of the cool vibes about this neighborhood, everyone says ‘Hi’ to each other,” said Eric Smith, who just moved into the Mueller Neighborhood after spending 15 years living in Korea.
“It’s a family-oriented neighborhood,” said Elena Korstun, who lives in Mueller Neighborhood and works at a restaurant nearby.
“It seems like a fairly safe neighborhood. So this turn of events is a little worrying,” said Chris Smith, who lives in the Mueller neighborhood and often brings his daughter to the park to play.
The Mueller neighborhood in east Austin is a hot spot, stocked with parks, restaurants, museums and shops.
“It’s incredible how much the neighborhood has changed,” Chris Smith said.
So news of an early morning assault comes as a shock to most. Authorities with the Austin Police Department said just before 6 a.m. on Friday, a stranger approached a woman from behind, tackled her to the ground and put something over her mouth. She was able to fight him off before he ran away.
While police say the assault happened early in the morning, neighbors said this area is bustling at all hours of the day. That’s why they think it’s so surprising a crime like this could even happen.
“I see people coming here, I see children, I see the neighborhood. It’s a very community-oriented neighborhood. I hope people will be watching their backs and staying aware,” Korstun said.
These neighbors say while they’ll be a bit more careful, they won’t be moving anytime soon.
“It makes us regret some of our decisions, but in the long run, this will still be a nice place to live,” Eric Smith said.
APD describes the suspect as a light-skinned Hispanic, chubby and standing around 5”5’. He was last seen wearing a grey shirt.
Crime in Mueller
A better idea of what crime is like in the Mueller neighborhood: police records show there has only been one other random, violent attack near the town center in the last year. It happened on Simond Avenue, near the Halcyon coffee bar and the Thinkery.
Two women were robbed at about 1 a.m.. Their purses were stolen.
Overall there is very little crime. Most police reports were tied to thefts and people leaving the scene of minor crashes.
A woman has reported being assaulted at the 4600 block of Mueller Boulevard in the early morning hours Friday.
According to the Austin Police Department, at 5:45 a.m., she was approached by stranger who covered her mouth and forced her to the ground. While the woman was injured, she was able to fight the man and he ran away.
The suspect is described at a light-skinned, chubby Hispanic man who is about 5′ 5″ tall. He was last seen wearing a grey shirt and a beanie hat covering short, dark hair.
The APD Sex Crimes Unit does not have any active cases that are similar to this one. The unit is asking anyone with information or who has seen someone matching this description to call either their tip line at (512) 974-5095 or the Sex Crimes main line at (512) 974-5230.