RICHMOND, Va. -- Police are asking for the public's help to find a 26-year-old man wanted in a weekend sexual assault VCU Police said was recorded on video and shared on Snapchat.
"VCU Police actively began investigating this incident as soon as it was reported," a VCU Police spokesperson said Tuesday. "We believe the assault occurred late at night on Saturday, August 24 or in the early-morning hours of Sunday, August 25. At this time detectives are unable to determine where the assault occurred but believe it could have occurred in an apartment or private residence. Since Sunday, we have received reports that the two individuals were asking VCU students about parties downtown."
Officials said Thursday that warrants have been issued for Mario Perry Johnson, who last lived in Henrico but has no known current address, on charges of the unlawful creation of an image (of another).
Police also released another photo that includes a second person of interest also believed to be involved in the sexual assault.
That photo shows Johnson on the right and the person of interest on the left as the pair walk into VCU’s Cary Street Parking Deck just before midnight Saturday.
The person of interest has facial hair and was wearing glasses. He was wearing a bright-colored lanyard, a dark shirt, brown pants and red sneakers, according to police.
"Using VCU’s security cameras, VCU Police had previously tracked the two men walking from Oregon Hill onto VCU’s Monroe Park Campus; the men walked along West Main Street near VCU’s Gladding Residence Center (GRC)," a VCU Police spokesperson said.
Detectives thanked the community for the tips that have some in so far in the case and said credited them with helping "move the investigation forward."
SHARE on social media to SPREAD the WORD!
Assault spread quickly on social media
News of the assault spread quickly among VCU students on social media and the school's independent newspaper -- The Commonwealth Times.
Commonwealth Times Editor Hannah Eason said that several social media posts talking about the alleged assault reached the newspaper on Monday.
"That's when I (direct messaged) the people who posted the original tweets and then from there we were just following it and kind of watching and reading the threads," Eason said. "Then more people sent it to me who weren't even going to VCU."
Eason said students were being reassured that the situation was being taken seriously by campus police, but added there was initially a lot of anger in the student community over the lack of information being released.
Other students were also in shock to hear the news.
"I think that's honestly really disgusting and terrible. To one do that to someone, and two, to record it," said VCU freshman, Avery Johnson.
"We ask that anyone with information on these two individuals please contact us," the VCU Police spokesperson added. "Students or community members who were downtown on Saturday night or early Sunday morning may have seen them walking on or near VCU’s campuses, may have seen or met them at a party, restaurant or store or may know them personally. Any amount of information you can provide about their identities and whereabouts this weekend will help our investigation."
VCU Police can be reached by calling 804-828-1234 or by sending in tips on the LiveSafe app.