QUEENS — A Queens College student was sexually assaulted steps from campus while walking back to her home from a Halloween party early Friday morning, her roommate and police said.
The 23-year-old woman, who moved from Taiwan to Queens three months ago to study English, was approached from behind near the intersection of Melbourne Avenue and Kissena Boulevard at 4:45 a.m. by a man who punched her in the head, covered her mouth, pushed her to the ground and then attempted to remove her underwear, according to police.
A passing man heard the woman's screams for help, and called 911. Police said the witness managed to scare the attacker off the woman, yelling out to the suspect that he had called for help. The attacker fled the scene, and police released details on the suspect's identity Saturday.
Sue Wei, 26, who works at a lab at the college, said the woman attacked lives with her. "My roommate was very, very emotional, upset, crying and shaking," said Wei. "She was telling me she thought she would die."
Wei said her roommate was traveling home alone from Manhattan after going to the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade and then a party.
The victim took the E train to the Q64 bus, which let her off 152nd Street and Jewel Avenue just after 4 a.m.
The young woman, who was not identified because she is the victim of a sex crime, was just a few houses away from her apartment when a 20- to 30-year old man wearing black t-shirt and blue jeans sexually assaulted her, a NYPD spokesman said.
She was able to fight him off and he fled toward Jewel Avenue, according to police.
The student suffered a cut to her neck and swelling on her forehead.
"I usually feel pretty safe in the neighborhood," said Wei. "I don't feel unsafe. It's kind of scary."
Police released a sketch of the suspect, and described him being between 20 and 30 years old and standing 5-foot-5 to 5-foot-8. He was last seen wearing a dark colored T-shirt, and dark jeans, and has dark short hair, police said.
Queens College was still drafting a letter to faculty, staff and students "to notify them of what occurred, and to urge them to be aware of their surroundings, especially after dark," a spokeswoman said.
Police are asking anyone with any information on the incident to contact CrimeStoppers by calling 1-800-577-8477, or to submit tips at www.nypdcrimestoppers.com. Tips can also be texted to 274637, entering code TIP577. All calls are confidential.