Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story inaccurately reported the date of a home invasion in which the suspect is also charged.
A day after a Paine College student reported being raped in a residence hall bathroom, police charged an 18-year-old man in the case and linked him to two assault attempts last year, one of them in the same building.
Jairus Rayshawn Dantzler, of Belmont Avenue, was captured early Friday after a brief foot chase in the 2800 block of Thomas Lane. He has been charged with rape, criminal attempted rape, obstruction of a law enforcement office, armed robbery, possession of a knife during commission of a crime and two counts of burglary.
Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree said investigators began a “relentless search” after a witness notified police of the attack around 1:30 a.m. Thursday.
According to a police report, a 22-year-old woman was getting out of the shower in the all-female Graham Hall when a man forced her into a stall and sexually assaulted her. She told police the man threatened to kill her if she screamed. When another student entered the bathroom, the woman called for help and her attacker fled.
The witness said she recognized the man as someone she saw outside the door to the building when she entered around 1 a.m.
Brandon Brown, Paine’s vice president of institutional advancement, said all residence halls close at midnight Sunday through Thursday and at 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Residents are required to contact campus security for entry after that time.
Brown said the attacker gained entry after “disabling the door.” The witness got in after closing because of “an environment where students don’t always adhere to guidelines,” he said.
Sheriff’s investigators and campus security conducted a door-to-door search of the dorm but didn’t find anyone matching the description.
Police did find an unattended bookbag in the dorm with paperwork connected to Dantzler. Roundtree said the Crime Suppression Team had stopped Dantzler earlier that morning on Eagles Way and conducted a field interview.
Roundtree said investigators contacted Dantzler’s family, who confirmed that he frequently wore clothes matching those described by the assault victim and witness.
After further investigation, police charged him in other unsolved crimes involving a neighbor and another Paine student.
“We were working on the fear this wasn’t an isolated incident,” Roundtree said.
Dantzler was charged in the Nov. 18 attempted rape of a 19-year-old in Graham Hall.
That woman told police she returned to her room after a trip to the bathroom and was lying on her bed when a man with a cloth over his face tried to lie down beside her. The man tried to cover her face and mouth with a blanket and remove his pants. Police said she fought him and yelled for help as he ran away.
Dantzler has also been charged with a Feb. 16 home invasion in the 1800 block of Belmont Avenue.
In that case, a police report stated, a 23-year-old woman awoke to find a man with a cloth over his face in bed between her and her daughter. The man climbed on top of the woman, choking and hitting her, but she was able to break free and run with her child to another part of the room. She told police the man, who had a pocket knife, demanded money and sex. When she refused, he grabbed her purse and ran out.
Roundtree said he is confident there are no additional victims.