PUEBLO, Colo. (CBS4) – Police in Pueblo are responding to the concerns of angry residents in an eastern part of the city who feel the department isn’t doing enough to try to find a suspect responsible for at least one reported sex assault.
“We are actively investigating these cases. If we can find something to put someone in jail, we’re doing it,” said Pueblo Deputy Police Chief Andrew McLachlan on Monday.
A group called the East Pueblo Crew disagrees. On Sunday, members of the vigilante group attacked a man thought to be the sexual predator responsible, but it turns out the man may be innocent.
The group was reacting after a 6-year-old girl who was sexually assaulted last month identified the man as her attacker.
“We’re tired of waiting for someone to do it, and if we have to do it ourselves, we’re honored to do it,” Ruby Red Dog told CBS4. “We didn’t do nothing more but protect our community and fluff out a violator in our neighborhood.”
A mob of people chased the man down, threw rocks at him, and called police. But police say there wasn’t enough evidence to charge the man after he gave a DNA sample and he was released. McLachlan said he was cooperative with police in their investigation.
The child’s mother said the attack happened in April and that a man came into their home. She said her girl has been very frightened ever since.
“She’s not the same anymore. She’s scared to go out in public. She’s scared to see his face,” said her mother.
McLachlan said although no one from the neighborhood group is going to be charged with anything, it was probably a bad idea for them to use the vigilante tactics that they did on Sunday.
“If you bring a victim, especially a young child, up to a scene with a large crowd to make an identification a child feels obligated to make the adults happy,” McLachlan said.