Two Uncommon Heroes Rewarded for capture of Jose Carrasquillo

The girl was attacked Monday morning shortly after she dropped off her sister at a day-care center and began walking along the 3300 block of Kensington Avenue. The girl told police that her attacker said he had a gun and forced her to walk to the 2000 block of East Westmoreland Street, where he attacked her behind a house.

Police described the attack as “sadistic,” and the girl required surgery at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children. She went home Wednesday.

Fighting crime pays as two men who helped capture a rape suspect were rewarded for their efforts Friday.

Community activists are calling the two teenagers “uncommon heroes” because they stepped up when they didn’t necessarily have to do so.

David Vargas and Fernando Genval have been credited with capturing 26-year-old Jose Carasquillo, who is a suspect but not yet charged with an attack on an 11-year-old girl walking to school Monday morning in Kensington.

“We want to present these checks to you and say thank you for stepping up,” FOP President John McNesby said Friday as he presented the checks.

The two teens are splitting a total reward of $11,500, which was offered by the FOP and a private business owner.

By Tuesday, police were seeking Carasquillo as a “person of interest” for questioning in connection with the attack that left the 11-year-old needing surgery. Investigators canvassed the neighborhood showing Carasquillo’s photo.

Them, on Tuesday afternoon, surveillance video from a business at the corner of Front and Clearfield streets captured Vargas and Genval confronting Carasquillo. One of them is even shown holding a newspaper with a police composite sketch of the attacker next to Carasquillo’s face before beating him down and holding him for police.

Philadelphia Police Lt. Frank Vanore said authorities did the right thing in publicizing their desire to talk to Carrasquillo. He noted he was wanted on a bench warrant and had 17 prior arrests.

“We’ve got an 11-year-old viciously raped,” Vanore said. “We factored in a lot of things and the biggest thing was to get this individual off the street.”

Officers say they are confident they’ll be able to charge Carrasquillo with the rape as well as two other rapes.

A furniture store donated a full-size bed today to the family of an 11-year-old girl who was raped in Kensington last week while walking to school. That way she can nestle up against her mom when darkness comes and brings with it nightmares of the unspeakable crime.

Later, her family staged a BBQ, attended by Mayor Nutter, scores of police, and up to 100 friends and relatives. Guests of honor were the two men who each received a $5,750 reward after they recognized the suspect in the attack from a police photograph and captured him.

The suspect, Jose Carrasquillo, 26, was severely beaten by an angry mob after the two men detained him on the street on Tuesday. Carrasquillo remained in custody yesterday but had not yet been charged with the rape, said a police spokeswoman. DNA test results are pending.

Try as they might to keep the mood festive today, her parents could not completely hide their sorrow and anger.

“To see her smile is all I can ask right now,” said her father, as he hugged her and watched a stream of police officers and other well-wishers greet her.

The slight girl dressed in jean shorts and pink Princess t-shirt grinned shyly and then ran off with her three sisters and one brother. Someone offered her a ticket to an upcoming Beyonce’ concert, her mother said, and later the girl was treated to a ride around the block in a Porsche.

The girl’s name and parents’ names are being withheld by The Inquirer to protect her privacy.

“She has cold sweats and runs into our room at night,” said her father, a retired auto technician, as a tremor crept into his voice. “As soon as she closes her eyes, she relives it.” He wants the family to move so that she can recover emotionally.

The incident occurred near Conwell Middle School, only a few blocks from their rowhouse. The girl had just dropped her 4-year-old sister off at a daycare and was heading to school that morning, alone, when Carrasquillo pounced, police said. He told her he had a gun and forced her to follow him six blocks to an alley, police said.

The attack was so brutal that the child had to be hospitalized and required surgery.

The girl’s father said she told him later, “Daddy, people shouldn’t be doing this to little kids.” Though she previously wanted to be a doctor, she now wants to be a lawyer and later a judge so that she can make sure criminals stay off the street, he said.

Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey said earlier this week that his department would not pursue charges against those who beat Carrasquillo and held him for police. Video surveillance shows the suspect trying to flee, Ramsey said, and the crowd acted to prevent him from getting away.

“We have people who saw an individual who committed a very brutal crime, and they grabbed him and held him for the police,” Ramsey said. “You have to think about the emotion involved in this.”

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