Police say a homeless man made racial threats against an African-American woman walking with her baby in Vancouver, Washington, last week before grabbing her stroller and threatening physical harm to the woman and her daughter, and he is now facing several charges in the incident.
According to The Columbian, suspect Austin Lansdon appeared in Clark County Superior Court on Tuesday on suspicion of two counts each of unlawful imprisonment and malicious harassment, the state’s hate crime law. Lansdon, 28, was booked into the county jail the day before.
The defendant shook his head but didn’t utter a word as Judge Bernard Veljacic set his bail at $30,000, which was the amount requested by the state.
Authorities were called just after 6:30 p.m. on August 18 to Main Street, where a 24-year-old woman told officers she was walking with her infant daughter when she was approached by a man. As she tried moving her stroller to the side to make room for the both of them on the sidewalk, she said the strange man began shouting racial slurs at her, grabbed ahold of her stroller and refused to let her leave.
During the struggle, the woman claims Lansdon told her, “[Expletive], I’m going to rape you right now and take your baby,” a probable cause affidavit states.
A driver stopped to intervene, prompting Lansdon to let go of the stroller and flee the scene. Still, the woman’s troubles weren’t over just yet.
After the stranger and the good Samaritan had gone, the woman continued walking up the road but then frantically called her husband after realizing Lansdon was “running toward her” and her 3-month-old child.
Police say the woman was able to run across the street and dial 911.
The victim described her attacker as wearing a large, distinctive backpack, which helped an investigating officer quickly identify Lansdon as the man in question, according to The Columbian. Authorities arrested the suspect on Monday by an officer who “immediately” recognized the backpack.
Lansdon, who’s been jailed on prior offenses, including DUI and domestic violence-related harassment, remains behind bars at the Clark County Jail.