Image: Google Maps

A woman walking her dog in Berkeley on Tuesday morning was sexually assaulted by a stranger near People’s Park, authorities report.

The woman, whose age and city of residence were not released by police due to the nature of the incident, was walking her dog just before 7:30 a.m. near Dwight Way and Hillegass Avenue when a man approached her.

The man said he had a gun, took the woman’s phone and forced her to go with him to a secluded location, said Officer Byron White, Berkeley Police Department spokesman, in response to a Berkeleyside inquiry. White said officers responded quickly and arrested the man “as he was running away.”

Police identified the man as 36-year-old Demetrius Johnson, whose address is unknown. Johnson was arrested on suspicion of forced oral copulation, kidnapping with intent to commit a sex crime and robbery.

The woman was taken to a local hospital for medical evaluation, White said.

Police ask anyone with information to call the Berkeley Police Department’s Sex Crimes Unit at 510-981-5735.

Update, Wednesday, July 24: Johnson is being held at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin without bail, according to Alameda County jail records online. He is scheduled for arraignment Thursday at the Wiley Manuel Courthouse in Oakland.

Berkeleyside added Johnson’s booking photo to this story Wednesday.

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Emilie Raguso (former senior editor, news) joined Berkeleyside in 2012 and covered politics, public safety and development until her departure in 2022. In 2017, Emilie was named Journalist...