Gardena community reacts to reported rape of EC student


An El Camino student was allegedly attacked in a home across the street from campus last Friday. Neighbors on Atkinson Street have rallied together and responded to the incident by keeping an eye out for the alleged attacker. Photo credit: John Fordiani

Four days after a woman was allegedly attacked in a home across the street from campus, neighbors rallied together and responded to the incident today.

El Camino Police Chief Trevis confirmed in an email this morning that the alleged victim is an EC student.

Only a few hundred feet away from the El Camino campus, there is a blue stucco one-story home with a lone pair of sandals on the front porch, in the Gardena neighborhood that runs along Atkinson Street.

Some residents said they saw the man, accused of the rape, they believe to be the attacker who kicked in the door of the Atkinson Street residence and allegedly sexually assaulted an EC student.

“I was shocked, I saw all the police cars up here and they told me a girl was raped over here,” Brenda Francisco, an 18-year resident of the neighborhood said. “I saw someone wearing a grey hoodie, I couldn’t tell who it was since a lot of people look like that.”

Nick Garcia said he’s seen the man he believes was the attacker, riding his purple and orange rimmed bicycle, before on his street.

“I’ve seen that guy a few times digging through the trash in the alley,” he said.

Garcia was sitting out in his front yard drinking coffee and smoking a cigarette around 9 a.m. on Friday, when he saw the man who he believes was the attacker walk by his front yard.

“You could barely see his face, but I saw him when he walked by,” he said. “I looked at him and he looked away.”

The man was wearing a darker-colored hoodie Garcia said.

“I didn’t think nothing of it,” he said. “Since it was still chilly outside, I even had a hoodie on.”

There has been crime in the neighborhood but it’s usually a quiet street, Garcia said.

The neighborhood is bordered by Manhattan Beach Boulevard and Crenshaw Boulevard and has neighborhood watch signs posted throughout the area.

Residents said they look out for each other and call the police from time to time about suspicious activity in the area.

“All the neighbors were like, ‘We’ve seen him before,’ Elena Young, a 16-year resident said. “Because of all the students, we see so many different people its kinda hard to be like, ‘You’re not from here.'”

The Union reached out to El Camino Community Relations Director Ann Garten, but she did not respond for comment by deadline.

Update: April 22, 9:18 a.m. An extra word was taken out of the lead graph. An “an” was taken out to clarify the sentence.