The Fremont community is on edge after three sexual assaults occurred there in the last month. Police arrested the alleged attacker, but neighbors are still shaken and gathered Sunday to learn what they can do to better protect themselves.
According to police, the first sexual assault happened at the Fremont Hub on May 5. Eight days later, two women were brutally attacked on the same day.
“A sexual assault and intent to rape is unthinkable for any of us living here. It showed us how vulnerable we are,” said Fremont resident Sheila Mani.
Mani organized a community event Sunday after learning two women were sexually assaulted in the middle of the day earlier this month in Fremont.
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First, an attack on a 57-year-old woman near Auto Mall Parkway and Fremont Boulevard.
Then hours later, a 67-year-old woman attacked in the front yard of a home near Grimmer Boulevard was beaten so badly that she was hospitalized with broken bones and major injuries.
After a witness called 911, police interrupted the sexual assault in progress and arrested Alexander Lomax, 28, who is now accused of all three attacks.
“It is awful but it is also highly unusual,” said Fremont Police Chief Kimberly Petersen.
Earlier on Sunday, Petersen met with the community which is rattled by the crimes. She said police have increased patrols where the assaults happened but admits it’s not enough.
“We can’t be everywhere, so we encourage people to establish a crime watch group and get to know one another. We have 150 groups but we need more,” Petersen said.
Fremont City Councilmember Teresa Cox agreed that neighbors need to have each other’s backs.
“It helps combat crime because neighbors watch who comes in and who leaves the area,” she said.
While two of the victims in the sexual assault cases are Asian, police say it does not appear that race was a motivating factor. Petersen said, however that it does appear the suspect targeted women in their late 50s and older.
As a mother, Mani said that she hopes by joining forces to ask tough questions and address fears that neighbors will feel empowered to make their community safer.