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Student escapes attack, leads police to suspect

Just four days after an armed break-in and rape in the Venable area, another University female student was sexually attacked while inline skating at Azalea Park Monday afternoon.

According to police, the victim, a quick-thinking 17-year-old University student, averted potential rape and assisted in her assailant's prompt arrest by screaming for help.

The victim allegedly was approached by Buckingham County resident Tyrone Nathaniel Jones while removing her skates in her van at the park, police said. The park is located in southern Charlottesville off of Route 64.

"She heard a door slam and saw a black man coming towards her," Charlottesville City Police Lt. J. E. "Chip" Harding said. "He asked her her name and then asked a very lewd question and she felt in trouble."

After trying to close her car door, the assailant grabbed the victim's shoulders, threw her on her back and choked her, Harding said.

He said Jones allegedly told her he had a knife and would "slice her" if she was not quiet.

The victim, however, ignored his threats and continued to scream for help.

"The victim said as she struggled she was praying out loud and yelling 'I'm being raped,'" Harding said.

According to Harding, when a nearby man walking his dog began to approach the van, the assailant got up and walked back to his vehicle.

Before he left the scene, the victim called 911 on her mobile phone and reported his license plate number and gave police a description of his car and clothing.

"She was a real cool cucumber," Harding said. "With her report we stopped [Jones] about a half-mile away from the incident within two minutes of her."

Although the victim reported that she never saw the knife, one was found in Jones' red Ford Escort during his arrest, he said.

During police questioning, Jones offered statements consistent with the victim's account of the incident, he added.

Harding said the incident occurred in broad daylight at about 1:20 p.m.

Jones was charged with felony counts of attempted rape in addition to abduction for allegedly holding the victim against her will as she tried to escape.

Police said they doubt Jones is connected to the Aug. 26 armed rape of a University student in the Venable neighborhood. Jones offered a blood sample voluntarily and a third person confirmed his alibi for Aug. 26, Harding said.

"Should we end up with a DNA sample [of the Venable rape suspect] it will be compared with Jones'," he added.

Charlottesville Police Chief J. W. "Buddy" Rittenhouse said police have increased patrols.

"We're increasing our patrols in the area and we have increased police visibility," Rittenhouse said.