Queens Residents Capture Suspect in Rape of 13-Year-Old Girl

Nearly a dozen Queens residents stopped a man on the street after he was recognized as the person wanted in connection with the sexual assault of a 13-year-old girl last week, according to the police. The residents then held the man until officers arrived, the authorities said.

The man, Christian Inga, was at 108th and Waldron Streets in Corona at about 1 a.m. on Tuesday fighting with his captors when officers arrived, Joseph Kenny, the Police Department’s chief of detectives, said at a news conference later that day.

Mr. Inga, 25, was treated at a hospital for minor injuries he sustained while resisting the crowd before being released into police custody. He was charged with first-degree rape, robbery, kidnapping and sex abuse, along with several other crimes.

“We are confident that this person who committed this terrible crime is now in custody,” Police Commissioner Edward Caban told reporters on Tuesday.

Mr. Inga, who the police said is Ecuadorean and entered the United States through the southern border three years ago, is accused of using a “machete-style knife” to force the girl and a schoolmate, a 13-year-old boy, into the woods of Kissena Park in Queens on Thursday. Once there, he tied the children’s wrists together using a shoelace, then sexually assaulted the girl and stole their phones before fleeing, the police said.

After his arrest, Mr. Inga told officers that he had a drug problem and that he had found the knife he used in the attack, Chief Kenny said. Mr. Inga identified himself in footage he was shown, according to Chief Kenny.

In the days after the assault, the police launched a campaign to find Mr. Inga — offering a $10,000 reward for information, canvassing the area for cameras and asking for the public’s help. On Monday night, the police released a picture and video submitted by community members. That led to Mr. Inga’s identification, Chief Kenny said.

“We had tips coming in actually naming the perpetrator, so they knew who he was,” Chief Kenny said.

The police are now processing evidence from the crime to see if it matches Mr. Inga, whose genetic data was collected when he was processed at the southern border, according to Chief Kenny.

Sexual assaults by strangers are relatively rare. Only about 20 percent of rapes are committed by someone who is a stranger to the victim, according to an analysis by RAINN, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. Whereas in about 93 percent of the juvenile sexual assault cases reported to law enforcement, the victims know the people who attacked them, according to the network.

Through the beginning of June, there have been 694 rapes reported to the authorities this year in New York City, an increase from 654 through the same time period last year, according to police data. About 30 percent of the victims were children. In the 109th Precinct, which includes Kissena Park, there have been 12 rapes reported this year, down from 17 during the same period in 2023.

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