Police investigate rape; vigil held

Chico police are seeking two men, one of whom allegedly struck and sexually assaulted a woman on a Chico street.

The 20-year-old woman, who was visiting from Modesto, was near Tacos de Acapulco at 429 Ivy St. around 2 a.m. March 9 when she “went to the aid of a couple of women being verbally abused” by the suspects, police reported.

Sgt. Dave Barrow said that, after food was thrown back and forth, the woman chased the men around a corner, at which point they turned on her. One man allegedly knocked her to the ground, pulled down her pants and raped her, Barrow said, adding that then one of them threw food in her face.

Angered at the reported attack, community members—under the sponsorship of Chico State University’s Women’s Center—planned a candlelight vigil March 20 at Fourth and Ivy streets.

“We were all so outraged and hurt,” said Liliana Blanco of the Women’s Center. She expected a large turnout at the 7 p.m. vigil, which she hoped would send a message to the suspects, along with the people who didn’t stop the attack and those with information who aren’t coming forward. Blanco said that any kind of confrontation that led up to the alleged attack is “very irrelevant"; no one should be afraid to stand up for others.

The department is seeking anyone who may have witnessed the incident, especially the people who helped the woman to a nearby apartment. The suspects are described as white males in their early 20s, one 6 feet tall, weighs 190 pounds and has dirty-blond hair and blue eyes, while the other is 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighs 140 pounds and has dark hair and a dark complexion.