NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The victim of a sexual assault in Brooklyn spoke out Wednesday as police continued to search for a man who they call a person of interest in the case.
It happened Saturday morning at a home on Halsey Street and Central Avenue in Bushwick. In an exclusive interview, Shylasin Nowell told CBS2’s Ali Bauman that she decided to speak out about what happened in the hopes this will help investigators find her attacker.
She said until he’s caught, home just doesn’t feel safe.
“I want him to know that you ruined my life, for whatever reason you came over here for,” Nowell said.
Nowell, 24, said she was asleep in her bed Saturday morning and woke up around 10:30 a.m. to a complete stranger forcing himself on her.
“He was like, ‘I’m looking for someone called Lisa.’ He was trying to go to the blue house right here,” Nowell said. When Bauman asked if the man went to the wrong house, Nowell nodded.
She said she pushed him off and said the man seemed disoriented. She said he threw money at her and asked her for drugs.
“He never put his pants up,” she said. “He stood there and asked, ‘Can we finish?'”
The man eventually ran outside and down the street – right past Nowell’s grandmother, who was just returning from work.
“I heard my granddaughter crying and I said, ‘What happened?,’” said Evelyn Nowell. “When she told me what he did, I ran out to catch him — but couldn’t see him.”
New surveillance video obtained by CBS2 shows who police say is the person of interest paying to charge his phone at a deli across the street about a half hour before the attack.
While police are not calling him a suspect, when Nowell looked at the video, she said, “That’s definitely him.”
“That’s exactly him,” she said. “They can’t really see his face, but that’s him.”
The neighborhood was on edge.
“People sit and watch and see what people do all the time, so you have to be very aware of your surroundings,” said Deanna Williams of Bushwick.
Police said the building’s front door was unlocked at the time. In the days since, Nowell has been particularly careful to keep it unlocked, but she is still terrified to be home alone.
“I want to be able to go in my home,” she said. “I want to be able to sleep correctly and come and go.”
Nowell said the man did not seem to have any weapons. She was treated at NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull and released, but says she’s so scared now to sleep in her home that she’s going to stay with family for a few days.
The person of interest is described as about 5 feet10 inches tall and 180 pounds. He was last seen in a black hoodie and jeans.
Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782), visit www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or text tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.