WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — A woman who was sexually assaulted, along with her mother, in their South Side home described the Wednesday attack as "the worst day of my life."
"What you think won’t happen to you, happens to you," the 22-year-old woman told reporters.
The woman, whose name is being withheld, said Thursday she was in her room sleeping when she heard her mother calling out to her.
"She started screaming my name so I ran back into her room and he was on top of her with his knife up to her," said the woman.
"I was just scared like, 'Is he going to kill my mama in front of me?' " she said. "So you’re going to do what he says do, so he won't."
Police say a serial rapist attacked the two women before later sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl headed to a bus stop Wednesday morning.
Police brought a man in for questioning and the 22-year-old victim says she identified a man in a police lineup as the attacker.
She described looking at the line up of five men as frightening.
"I’m not even going to lie, I was scared to go in there. Then, when I went in there, I just peeped around the corner," she said. "They were like 'He can’t see you, you can only see him.' But it’s still... the fear."
The man brought in for questioning was released Wednesday night, police said.
"It ain't no good feeling. I still feel a little messed up about it," she said. "But justice is going to be served one way or another."
Another family member was angered about the man's release.
"She got a clear look at him... I know she got a clear view of the guy, so I’m 100 percent sure she knows who it is," the relative said.
"If this guy did it here and to two other people he’ll do it again. This is not the end this is what he do," the relative said.
"Justice will be served one way or the other whether the police catch him or the streets handle him," the relative said.
The attacks have upset the neighborhood.
Troi Daniels said she used to stroll through the area without fear, but that's all changed, she said.
"Now it's hurry up, let's get to where we got to go," Daniels said standing outside her home in the 10400 block of South Emerald Avenue Thursday morning.
"It's very shocking. I used to walk around the neighborhood and feel safe," Daniels said. "It ain't never been this bad around here."
"I just want them to find whoever it is, and I want them to find him immediately," she said.
Shymica Thomas, 20, found the attacks particularly horrifying.
"I'm not walking to work by myself anymore. I planned to get my car fixed anyway, but now it's more of a security thing," Thomas said as her dog frolicked at Fernwood Park.
Thomas said she carries a weapon for protection, even though she has lived in the neighborhood for four years and had never heard of an incident like this before.
"You always have to take precaution anyway. It doesn't matter what neighborhood you live in," she said.
Another resident said the neighborhood may not wait for police to seek justice.
"All the guys around the neighborhood say that justice will be served," she said.
The suspect is described as a slender black man with a dark complexion and medium-length dreadlocks. He is believed to be 16 to 22 years old, 6-foot to 6-foot-1 tall. He had been wearing a black T-shirt, baggy blue jeans, a long white or tan belt with a rectangular buckle, and white gym shoes.
Anyone with information is asked to call police at 312-747-8271.