Madison police have released a sketch of a man who beat a woman on a downtown street a week ago, with investigators believing the suspect was about to commit a sexual assault but was stopped by an off-duty firefighter.

The assault happened about 2:40 a.m. Saturday morning in the 100 block of East Johnson Street, according to a police news release.

Police spokesman Joel DeSpain told the firefighter heard the woman scream and came to her aid.

"Investigators believe sexual assault was the motivation for the suspect," DeSpain said. "Thanks to quick action by the firefighter, he was able to prevent a sexual attack."

The firefighter pulled the suspect off the woman, punched him in the face and the suspect ran off.

The 21-year-old victim suffered numerous head injuries in the assault, including lacerations to her head that required staples to close the wound.

"The Madison Police Department would like to publicly thank the off-duty Madison firefighter for his quick actions in this case, as he saved the victim from additional harm," DeSpain said.

The suspect is a white male in his late 20s to early 30s, blonde hair, 5 feet 11 inches tall, 200 pounds, wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt or coat over a red flannel shirt.

Anyone with information about the case can call Madison Area Crime Stoppers, 266-6014. Callers can stay anonymous and may be eligible for up to a $1,000 reward.


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