An 18-year-old freshman student was sitting at a picnic table outside the dorms at Chapman University in Orange County, California, video chatting with her boyfriend after midnight when she was spotted by a man who probably thought she would be an easy target.
It was around 12:40 a.m. on Friday when the man, wearing a skeleton mask, attacked. What he didn’t know was that the 18-year-old had 12 years of training in karate and held a black belt.
The freshman victim, who didn’t want her name shared, was able to give KTTV a lucid and detailed account of what transpired.
“And he punches me in the face … I hit the trash can behind me, it’s a concrete trash can,” she recounted. “He was just beating me up.
“… I don’t know if he heard people coming, somehow he got off and I chased him back up the stairs, cursing him out,” the freshman continued.
“At first, [the mask] reminded me of like the Scream, sort of, because the eyes were blacked out. I couldn’t see any eyes or anything. And I specifically remember … the skeleton part on the top and … the mouth being blacked out.”
During the attack, Michael Zapesotsky and Joe Hoodenpyle, two freshmen in a nearby dorm, heard the commotion and immediately leaped through their window to see what was going on.
“We heard the screaming outside,” Zapesotsky said. “You knew that something was wrong.”
“I push the screen out the window and we, we both jump out the window and go run over towards where the noise is coming from and, and there’s this girl there and she’s freaking out,” Hoodenpyle said. “And she was just in utter shock and terror. It was, it was really hard to see.”
And someone did: Someone in the man’s own family saw the video, recognized him and turned him in.
The suspect has been identified as 22-year-old Dalante Jerome Bell, who is not a student at the university and has no connections to it other than living in Anaheim, according to a post by the Orange Police Department.
Bell has been charged with Assault with Intent to Commit Rape and is being held at Orange County Jail.
“We will not tolerate this type of heinous criminal activity in Orange,” Police Chief Dan Adams said. “We hope the students and staff of Chapman University and residents of Orange can regain a sense of safety knowing this suspect has been arrested and we are confident he will be held to answer on the charges.”
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