Editor's Note: This article was updated Sunday, March 4 at 10:40 a.m. to add more detail from the Manhattan Beach Police Department. Police originally classified the incident as an attempted sexual assault, but later classified it as a sexual assault.
A teenage girl fought off a man as he pinned down and sexually assaulted her friend in Manhattan Beach, police said.
The 16-year-old victim and two underage female friends were walking together through the Vons grocery store parking lot at 410 Manhattan Beach Blvd. when they noticed a man masturbating while sitting in a parked vehicle, the Manhattan Beach Police Department said.
The man called out to the girls, but they ignored him and walked into the store, staying there until they thought the man had left. The girls later left the store and continued walking south on Valley Drive, police said.
As they approached 3rd Street and Valley Drive, the man came up from behind and shoved the 16-year-old to the ground. Police say that the man held down the girl's legs and "touched her genital area on top of her clothing."
That's when one of her friends began punching the man until he let the victim go and all three girls could run home and call police.
Officer arrived in the area of 3rd Street and Valley Drive around 9:37 p.m., the MBPD said. Around 9:50 p.m., the department received a call of a man exposing himself in the area of 35th Street and Flournoy Road. Based on the description of the car, police believe the man in the second incident is the same man who sexually assaulted the teenage girl.
The suspect is described as an Asian, Hispanic or Middle Eastern man with a dark complexion, between 20 and 30 years old. He was seen wearing a red and black flannel shirt and his vehicle is described as a four-door sedan with an Uber sticker on the passenger side windshield.
Anyone with information is asked to contact MBPD Detective Smith at 310-802-5133.