Police: Officer interrupts rape attempt, makes arrest

Officer Jerry Carter
Officer Jerry Carter

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – A Richmond cop witnessed a teenager being attacked in the woods in broad daylight and stopped what he said was almost rape. 24-year-old Tharoine Trotter is charged with abduction and attempted rape in Monday's incident.

Some people are now calling Officer Jerry Carter a hero, but he said he was just doing his job.  He was in the right place at the right time and prevented every parent's nightmare from becoming reality.

It was about 9:30 in the morning, which is not exactly the time you'd think of danger. We're told a teenage girl was walking to her friend's house. At the same time, Officer Jerry Carter was on the hunt for an intoxicated person who called police for help. He observed a man on Rusk Avenue and stumbled into a situation he'll never forget.

"He was kinda walking, staggering," Carter described. "I thought that might have been the person I was looking for."

Officer Carter watched as the suspect walked into the woods and put what he thought was an object on the ground. He said it turned out that object was actually the little girl.

"He sat back up and I noticed he pulled something to him and I seen two feet on each side of him, like bottoms of shoes," he recalled. "That's all I could see."

Mere moments later, Carter alleges 24-year-old Tharoine Trotter, turned around, saw the squad car and fled. The little girl ran to the cruiser with tears in her eyes and recounted the story of how a stranger grabbed her and almost raped her in the woods. Carter said he pursued Trotter and made the arrest.

"It's scary because it could be one of my kids or someone else's kids," he explained.

We're told the kids in the Southside neighborhood are familiar with stranger danger. 11-year-old Elizabeth Clendenin said a man terrified her at the bus stop two weeks ago. Monday's arrest isn't putting her father's mind at ease.

"You can't take a chance anymore," he told us. "She's a blessing to me. She's all me and my wife have."

Trotter was held without bond and charged with abduction and attempted rape. Police said had it not been for Officer Carter, that charge might have been rape.

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