Marina Attack Puzzles Police, Worries Residents

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Monday afternoon an off duty Washoe County Sheriff's deputy was walking his dog with his family along the path that circles the Sparks Marina.

Passing by an office building on the lake's eastern shore he happened to glance into a real estate office.

There on the floor he saw a man and woman struggling.

Moments before, the woman, a 51 year old Sparks resident who worked in the office had just closed the business. A man appeared at the door asking to use the phone. She let him in and he threw her to the floor and began beating her.

The reason is unclear.

"The suspect is a stranger to the victim," says Sparks Police Commander Brian Miller. "It's extremely odd."

The deputy kicked in the door and the assailant fled. The woman suffered severe head and spinal injuries. If he hadn't happened by, it would likely have been even worse.

"I think he did an absolutely great job," says Miller

The deputy's boss agrees. "I'm extremely proud of what he did," says Sheriff Mike Haley.

The deputy is a graveyard shift patrol officer. We're honoring his request to remain anonymous. Haley says he was fulfilling the oath he took when he became a peace officer.

"Our folks know, this profession knows that we're here to serve, to protect people and it doesn't matter whether you're on duty or off duty."

The suspect is described as a black man, possibly in his mid-20's, 5-6 to 5-9, stocky build, short Afro and was wearing a dark gray hoodie and gray pants.

He fled in a white 4 door sedan with tinted windows, possibly an older model Volkswagen Jetta or similar car.

Miller says the apparent randomness of the crime is troubling and though he says the public at large should not be overly alarmed, this is a case they want to clear as soon as possible.

"We want him,"

Until he's found people who live near or use the Marina park often may be looking over their shoulder.

"My wife decided she wants to start locking doors," says Mike Musser who lives in the neighborhood. "She kind feels unsafe now."

Leigh Escalante who jogs around the Marina path often agrees. "I thought it was safe or me and my kids. Now I'm a little shaken."

Police say they do have physical evidence they're processing, but what they could really use is more witnesses.

They're asking businesses in the East Lincoln-McCarran-Sparks Boulevard area which have security cameras to contact them. Their video may show the suspect's car.

Secret Witness has posted a $1,000 reward for information leading to arrest and prosecution. Their number is 322-4900. Callers may remain anonymous while collecting cash rewards.

There is also a fund set up to help the victim pay living expenses whiele she recovers. Her co-workers say she could be out of work for a few months.

Here is the fund information:
Bank of America
“Marina Attack Fund”
Acct: 501001124659
Wire routing # 026009593