Gun-toting man attacks woman on Mantelli

GILROY
– An attempted gunpoint assault of a woman walking her three
dogs near Mantelli Drive and Larkspur Lane Wednesday night has put
the upscale area in Gilroy’s western hills on edge, especially with
the Halloween holiday tonight.
GILROY – An attempted gunpoint assault of a woman walking her three dogs near Mantelli Drive and Larkspur Lane Wednesday night has put the upscale area in Gilroy’s western hills on edge, especially with the Halloween holiday tonight.

Police are still looking for a man, who emerged from the bushes and donned a mask, just before grabbing a woman in her 50s from behind. The assailant reportedly followed the woman who was walking her three large dogs eastbound on Mantelli Drive around 10 p.m. After being grabbed by the man, the woman was able to shake him off and flag down a car driving down the street. The man fled on foot west up Mantelli, according to police. The GPD does not have much of a description.

The woman was not hurt and police patrolled the area until 2 a.m. today searching bushes and backyards for the suspect. Police are now asking members of the community to be on heightened alert of any strange activity in the area, but they acknowledge with Halloween it might be more difficult.

“We are asking members of the Mantelli area to be on alert and contact the police department if they see any suspicious males in the area,” said Capt. Debbie Moore of the Gilroy Police Department. “I know it might be hard to tell who’s suspicious with Halloween, but people need to stay alert and report anything they think is suspicious.”

According to reports the victim gave police, she heard noises from the bushes at the northwest intersection of Larkspur Lane and Mantelli Drive, and then noticed a man walking approximately 10 feet behind her as she was coming down the large hill on Mantelli.

As she noticed the suspect, he begin to pull a ski mask onto his face, she crossed to the south side of Mantelli, but as soon as she got there he grabbed her in a choke hold and stuck a small handgun in her rib cage, telling her to let go of her dogs. The victim struggled, and the suspect stated, “Don’t make me hurt you!”

The victim then saw a car coming up the road. At this point she pulled away from the suspect and ran toward the oncoming car. The suspect then fled on foot back uphill on Mantelli Drive. Police searched the area for hours and interviewed several area residents, but found little information, said GPD Sgt. Jack Robinson.

The only description police have of the man is that he was Caucasian with a brown mustache, 5 feet 10 inches tall, medium build, wearing a navy blue ski mask and dark clothing.

“It appears he fled the area on foot, but he could’ve had a car somewhere,” said Robinson. “At this time, we are just happy that the victim is all right. It is hard to say in an isolated case like this if the suspect will come back.”

The assault occurred in a quiet neighborhood of large homes where people frequently walk their dogs in the evenings.

One shocked neighborhood resident said she will change her nightly dog walking routine now that she knows what happened just down the street.

“People walk dogs here all of the time – a ton,” said a resident of Mantelli Drive who did not wish to give her name. “This is really upsetting to me – it’s terrifying. My daughter and I usually go on a walk with our dogs every night. I’m going to bring my husband with us from now on.”

The same resident said she had not yet been contacted by police investigating the assault, but that she will keep her eyes open tonight.

“We don’t get that many trick-or-treaters up here, because the hill is so hard to walk up” she said. “I think we will be able to spot anybody who looks suspicious.”

To make matters worse for the residents near Mantelli Drive, while police searched for the assault suspect last night they spotted a mountain lion roaming the streets in the area.

Police are also warning residents and trick-or-treaters in the area to be aware of mountain lions, and not to run or approach the animal if they come in contact. It is also a good idea to keep all domestic animals inside.

Anyone with information about the attempted assault Wednesday night is being asked to contact Jack Robinson in the Investigations Unit at the Gilroy Police Department at 846-0350.

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