JAMAICA, Queens - Police in Queens have arrested three people and are seeking one more after a 50-year-old mother was savagely attacked while walking home from church.
The suspects have been identified as 20-year-old Brandon Walker, 17-year-old Justin Williams and 19-year-old Julisses Ginel. All three are facing multiple charges, including robbery, criminal sex act and sex abuse. Additionally, Ginel and Williams are separately charged in the armed robbery of three men the following evening.
Authorities say they know the identity of the fourth suspect, who is 20 years old, but his name has not been released.
The attack happened on the woman's walk to the train on 150th Street in Jamaica on Tuesday night, after she had left services and was heading home.
Surveillance video obtained by Eyewitness News shows the woman walking alone on the sidewalk, when one suspect runs across the street to catch up with her before being joined by the others.
Police say they forced her to open the contents of her purse and robbed her of $6 in cash, a cell phone and a MetroCard, then forced her to perform sex acts. She reportedly told them she had HIV, but that didn't deter them. One just ran off to get a condom.
In court, prosecutors read a portion of a statement they say Ginel gave to police.
"It was just supposed to be a robbery thing," he reportedly said. "I was there. I saw her naked and she gave them oral sex. I went to the get condoms to help out my boys. When I got back, the third was finishing up. I never touched the woman."
After the attack, the victim ran back to the Celestial Church of Christ on Liberty Avenue.
Authorities say the suspects live in a group home for troubled youths on South Road. At least some of them have a history of street robberies and other crimes. Walker has 13 prior arrests, including for assault, fraud, public lewdness and turnstile jumping.
Police recovered two weapons, including a BB gun and what appears to have been a real gun that was deactivated, possibly to be used as a prop or for training at the group home.
Authorities also found the victim's cell phone at the home, where an employee recognized the suspects after seeing surveillance video on the news and contacted police.
SCO Family of Services issued the following statement:
"One of the employees at a Transitional Independent Living program for young adults discovered that temporary residents served through the program might be linked to the attack reported in the media. Our staff took action and alerted the authorities, which directly led to the arrests."