2 sought in attempted sexual assault, Jacksonville Beach police say

Sunday's attack latest in string of recent incidents

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – There's a neighborhood crime alert in Jacksonville Beach, where police said they're looking for two men who tried to rape someone Sunday night.

The Jacksonville Beach Police Department said the attempted sexual assault occurred just before 10 p.m. on the beach -- about two blocks south of the Jacksonville Beach Pier, near a lot of businesses and activity, including the lifeguard headquarters and several beach access points.

Police said two men walked up to the victim and attempted to remove the victim's clothing.

The victim was able to fight off the men and run away, police said.

One of the men was described as being 5 feet 10 inches tall with a medium build. He was reportedly last seen wearing a black hoodie with the hood down, a black beanie and dark gray cargo pants. 

The second man was described as being 5 feet 6 inches tall with a thin build. He was reportedly last seen wearing a black hoodie with the hood up and either black sweatpants or dark-colored pants. 

"It's just bad, you know. You hate that for anyone, for any female or anyone to be attacked, especially a female at night when she figures she's safe," said Tony Peck, who was visiting from Georgia.

Even after learning what happened, people at Jacksonville Beach told News4Jax on Monday that they still feel safe.

"I go walk on the beach, like, once a night, every week," said Daniel Hartman, who lives nearby. "It seems safe out there and this is surprising news."

Sunday was just the latest in a string of recent incidents. The attempted sexual assault marked the seventh attack this month.

In several of those cases, police are still searching for the attackers.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said a girl was walking home from school about 4 p.m. on Oct. 9, near West 4th Street and Moncrief Road, when a man drove up, forced her into a car and assaulted her.

On Oct. 16, police reported sexual assaults at a public library on Jacksonville's Eastside and in the San Pablo Road area.

No arrests have been made in those cases and it's unclear whether any of them are connected. 

Anyone with information about Sunday's attack is asked to call Detective Cpl. D. Watts at 904-247-6341.

Police reminded everyone who walks the beach at night to stay with other people, pay attention and keep their cellphones handy to call 911 if needed.