SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- San Jose police are asking the public to use social media and help identify a man who forced himself on a 13-year-old girl as she returned home from school. Surveillance video shows the suspect barging into her home and trying to attack her as she successfully fends him off. Now police hope to identify and arrest him in the next 48 hours.
The 13-year-old has a compelling story to tell and her parents agreed to let ABC7 News share her bravery and the way this has impacted her sense of safety and innocence. We're not using her name. We're not showing her face. She says she tried to scream, but couldn't.
The middle school student was returning home from classes and wasn't aware until it was too late that a man was following behind. He caught up with her as she unlocked the front door.
"He started asking me really inappropriate questions," she said. "Which I honestly didn't know the meaning of, but I knew it wasn't appropriate, so that's when I decided to run inside the house."
The family's surveillance video shows the man force his way in as he began to put his hands on the 13-year-old. She managed to get him to back down.
"I was just trying to get him off of me, so I pushed him back and at one point, I slammed my flat palm into his face," she said. "And I think that's what scared him off. Because right after I slammed my hand to his face, that's when he got off of me."
The young girl then ran into her parent's closet, locked the door, and began texting her parents. She told her father: "DADDY COME HOME NOW. SOME GUY TRIED TO RAPE ME." Her dad called 911.
The girl's mother agreed to the interview because the suspect walked away and could attack again, "They should be able to walk home from school," she said. "They shouldn't be kept captive because of those sick persons out there."
One month earlier, police say the same suspect was seen following a 28-year-old woman into the restroom at Mitsuwa Market on Saratoga Avenue where a similar assault happened.
Police describe him as about 30 years old, white, medium height, thin, with a beard. He may have been riding a light-blue 10-speed bicycle.
At the time of the incident, police say he was wearing a light blue button-up dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up, light-colored khaki cargo shorts, dark blue leather shoes, black socks, a black messenger bag and dark blue beanie.
Police add that the suspect had a "weird" alcohol or cologne scent.
He was seen in a sandwich shop a few minutes before the 13-year-old was attacked.
Residents of the west San Jose neighborhood consider it a safe place. The Megan's Law registry says this area has 17 registered sex offenders.
"I'm really, really scared," said the victim. "And I really want him caught before something else happens."
She went on to say, "I'm really happy I'm safe and I fought him off. But I'm still really scared and I'm really low on trusting the outside world anymore."
While both attacks happened in west San Jose, police have yet to identify the suspect. They don't know where he lives or works. So they're asking everyone in the Bay Area to look out for him.
Anyone with information about him has been asked to call San Jose police Detective Brandon Scholten at (408) 277-4102. Anonymous tips can be left at the Crime Stoppers tip line at (408) 947-7867.