2007_04_hhr.jpgYesterday, the NYPD released video of the man who raped and tortured a Columbia graduate student in her Hamilton Heights apartment for hours on Friday and Saturday. The assailant used her ATM card at a bodega on 141st Street and St. Nicholas Avenue. A worker there told the News, "He's not human." The police also released a sketch of the attacker, who is described as a black man, around 180 pounds and 6'1", bald with a goatee; he also has a scar on his abdomen and a gold tooth.

The Post gives more detail about the brutal attack: Apparently the attacker rushed her when she opened the door to her apartment Friday and beat her. Then he tied her to a futon with coaxial cable, beating and sexually assaulting her. He poured boiling water on her in an attempt to remove DNA evidence and set the futon on fire Saturday afternoon before leaving. But the fire "melted the plastic covering of the coaxial cable" and she was able to escape. A building resident tells the News that the woman "keeps blaming herself" for letting him in.

2007_04_VIGIl.jpgFellow students at Columbia's School of Journalism spoke out about the attack. Leonardo Blair told the News, "I'm shocked and I'm angry. I'd kill him, seriously." Another student, Melissa Castro, said, "She's a strong woman. It's all too painful. I'm shocked this happened." And Hamilton Heights residents were worried and upset as well: City College student Juan He who lives in the same building told the Columbia Spectator, "I was on my way back from shopping at Pathmark when I saw the fire on the fifth floor around 4 o'clock. Firefighters came and broke it up after 10 minutes. Right now I'm kind of scared."

A resident says that the 23-year-old victim's parents were worried about her safety in Hamilton Heights and asked neighbors about the area. The police say they were going over the crime scene with a fine-tooth comb.

There is a Take Back the Night event at Barnard on Thursday night and an event from the NYC Alliance Against Sexual Assault in Union Square on Friday night.

Top image - surveillance footage of attacker; lower photograph from Bwog of candles at the Columbia Journalism school