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Copycat ‘Slapper’ Assaults Pedestrians Near LA Civic Center

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(credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

(credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A man known as the “Civic Center Slapper” has struck again in downtown Los Angeles, police said Friday.

On Jan. 27 at around 6:15 p.m., the suspect approached a 51-year-old attorney walking near Aliso and Alameda streets adjacent to the federal building and punched him in the jaw, causing the attorney’s head to hit the wall of the building, according the LAPD.

The suspect, described as a 6-foot- tall African-American male, is believed to be the same man responsible for two other attacks in the downtown area.

He was described as wearing a white knit cap and a white sweater and reportedly had a “five-o’-clock shadow” of a beard on his face.

Home to City Hall and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the L.A. Civic Center boasts the largest concentration of U.S. government employees outside of the nation’s capitol and was recently the central location for the Occupy Los Angeles protests until police removed the encampment in late November.

Police said the attacks echoed a series of similar assaults earlier this year after suspect Jermaine Moran was arrested on Jan. 20 after four victims identified him as their assailant.

Detectives realized there was likely a copycat criminal at large when two other victims came forward and described a different suspect.

“We know the suspect is not Jermaine Moran because he is still in custody on four other charges related to slapping people,” said Lt. Paul Vernon, head of detectives for the downtown area. “So we know we have at least one other man doing the same thing, and it appears he’s struck again.”

Vernon recommended all visitors to the downtown area walk in pairs and avoid text messaging or talking on phones while walking.

Anyone with information on the suspect is asked to contact the LAPD anonymously by calling into Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477) or by texting 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD”.

Online tips may also be placed at www.LAPDOnline.org.

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