CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - A woman fought off an attacker who broke into her home and tried to sexually assault her, according to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police.
Tonight, CMPD is stepping up patrols in the neighborhood off Graham Street in north Charlotte where the incident happened.
"It's just crazy," said neighbor Kimberly Thomas. "It feels unsafe now."
On what would ordinarily be a calm, peaceful Thursday, residents on Wynbrook Way feel on edge.
"Which apartment is gonna get his next?" asked Thomas. "It's nerve-wrecking to know it's not safe here in our own homes."
It was close to 2:00 a.m. Thursday morning when one of the apartments at the complex turned into the scene of a sexual assault crime.
"Just making sure I'm on alert," Thomas said. "Because you never know when they're coming into your house over here now."
"To be honest, we are all hysterical about the situation," said the victim's son. "It's so shocking."
The son of the 63-year-old victim, who wanted his name withheld, says the incident is hard for his family to fathom.
"Kind of hits close to home, because I wouldn't expect this to happen," he said.
His mother woke up in the middle of the night to find a man she didn't know sitting in her room.
"He attempted to take her clothes off forcibly," he said. "And she's a tough woman, she fought him off and fought him off and he ran."
"That is so crazy," Thomas said. "To have someone trying to sexually assault you in your sleep."
It's extremely uncommon. In 85 to 90 percent of sexual assault cases, the victim actually knows the suspect.
"A stranger, absolutely unknown to each other, that's very rare," said CMPD Lt. Melanie Peacock.
"We are upset about it," the victim's son said. "It's something that shouldn't happen."
Police are now stepping up patrols in the northern part of town in hopes the suspect doesn't strike again.
"I'm concerned about everyone in north division's safety," said Captain Ryan Butler. "So we take all our reported incidents seriously and we are dedicating resources specifically not just to that apartment community, but to that area of the district, so we have not just patrol officers, but additional community officers and foot patrol officers down there."
The victim's family is hopeful justice will be served.
"She's a fighter," her son said. "We love her, she's the anchor of our family, so for this to happen, we want to see who did it and know who did it."
Police are continuing zone checks and increased patrols throughout the evening and into the morning hours.
Anyone with information should call Crimestoppers at 704-334-1600. There is a reward for information leading to the suspect's arrest.