Just hours after officially moving into her home here in Galt, in the late morning on Monday, Nov. 2, a young mother took her toddler to Lake Canyon Park on the corner of Lake Canyon and Carillion Boulevard. The two were enjoying the weather when the young mother noticed a man acting strangely and erratically, possibly due to drugs.
She kept her eye on the man, who she identified as looking “homeless”. Feeling uncomfortable, the young mother started to gather their things when the man jumped on her, pushing her to the ground. The two struggled during which the suspect grabbed at the victim’s chest area.
A male witness in the park intervened and used physical force to separate and detain the suspect until Galt Police officers arrived. Although not confirmed by police officials, the victim believes that the hero broke his hand during the altercation.
Police arrived just before noon and detained Manuel Avila, a 25-year-old transient from Galt.
The victim told The Galt Herald that the suspect was wielding a screwdriver and, according to Galt Police, a screwdriver was found after the altercation; however, they did not confirm the use of the tool during the attack.
Although no actual drugs were found, police did find drug paraphernalia on the suspect.
The victim, whose name is being withheld for safety reasons, expressed gratitude for the young man that stopped to help her.
“This man is a hero,” she said.
Police officials were also grateful for the male witness.
“The Galt Police Department would like to thank the witnesses in the park for their quick actions, which stopped the attack and ensured the arrest of the suspect,” a press release read.
The victim and her family hope that the community stays hyper vigilant while they are out and about, noting that the attack happened during daylight hours.
“We need to watch out for our neighbors,” the victim’s mother said. “We need to make our neighborhoods safe for all women and children, so they feel safe to go to our parks, take a walk or go shopping.”
Avila was booked at the Sacramento County Main Jail on charges of felony sexual battery, felony false imprisonment and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Galt Police officials told The Galt Herald that officers have had prior contact with Avila and believe that he was having a mental health crisis, possibly linked to recent drug activity.