Police credit New Yorkers for suspect’s arrest in the rape of a 13-year-old girl

Jun 19, 2024, 1:10 PM | Updated: 3:40 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — Residents of a New York City neighborhood were praised for their role in the arrest of an Ecuadorian accused of raping a 13-year-old girl, a crime that the city’s police commissioner said “shocked our entire city.”

Christian Geovanny Inga-Landi, 25, was arrested early Tuesday outside a deli in Corona, Queens. He was held without bail after a court appearance Wednesday.

He was charged in the rape of the teenager last Thursday at Kissena Park in Queens after he allegedly used a machete to accost the girl and a 13-year-old boy who was walking with her.

Police officials told a news conference that community members detained Inga-Landi until police arrived even though he fought them and tried to escape.

Commissioner Edward A. Caban of the New York Police Department said the rape “shocked our entire city.”

“Our city was united in getting justice for the victim and her family,” he added.

Joe Kenny, chief of detectives for the New York Police Department, said Inga-Landi confessed, saying he had a drug problem, that he found the long knife he used in the attack, and that “this was the first time that he had ever done anything like this.”

Kenny said the suspect also identified himself in a video that investigators showed him. Criminal charges lodged against him include rape, sex abuse, predatory sexual assault resulting in serious injury, robbery, kidnapping and endangering the welfare of a child. If convicted, he could face 25 years to life in prison.

His lawyer did not immediately comment. The Ecuadorian consulate did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

In court Wednesday, prosecutors said Inga-Landi told police during his taped confession that he recorded portions of his attack and went off to buy drugs afterward, according to the New York Post.

Inga-Landi, scratches visible on his face, scowled and kept his head lowered throughout the hearing in which a judge ordered him held without bail until his next appearance on July 1, the newspaper said.

After the court appearance, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said the arrest resulted from “an amazing citywide manhunt.” She also said the victims, despite the trauma they experienced, provided key details to police, including information about a tattoo.

One resident who helped capture him said residents were sure they had the right person when his shirt came off and they saw the tattoo.

In a release, Katz said the attack “on two children in broad daylight in a city park strikes the very core of our society.”

Kenny said members of the community, including a landlord who said Inga-Landi had tried to rent a room from him two weeks earlier, provided “crucial information” as the police department saturated the area with detectives and distributed pictures and a video of the suspect on social media.

The response from the community even before the arrest was so strong that police knew Inga-Landi’s identity, had accessed his Facebook page and had a “dead-on” sketch along with photographs and video, Kenny said.

He said local residents who lived on the block where the arrest occurred ensured that once he was spotted, he couldn’t go anywhere, apparently even using a belt to hold his feet together.

Kenny said at least 10 individuals kept him in place until police arrived. Authorities said he was treated for minor injuries at a local hospital after his arrest.

Angela Sauretti told The Daily Beast that she spotted Inga-Landi, wearing a black hoodie, in the deli and put him in a headlock when he tried to flee.

“He said, ‘Let me explain!’ I’m like, ‘There’s nothing to explain. You’re a rapist,’” she recalled.

Sauretti said Inga-Landi crawled under a car “like a cat,” but community members surrounded it to prevent his escape.

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