Austin Police still looking for tips in Mueller neighborhood attack

The Mueller neighborhood has come a long way from being a vacant airport.  

It's a booming area these days: townhomes, apartments, shopping, and restaurants.

"I feel safe, I'm aware of my surroundings and feel like it's a very welcoming place," said Stephanie Short, who used to work in the neighborhood.

Short is still a frequent visitor.

We told her about the assault that happened Friday morning on the 4600 block of Mueller Blvd. just before 6 a.m.  

"While she was walking, a male came up behind her, put something over her mouth and forced her to the ground," said APD Officer Destiny Silva. 

Thankfully this attack ended there.

"Luckily this female was able to fight this suspect off and he fled the scene," Silva said.

"It is scary.  I mean even with the sun rising and such you just have to be willing to fight back and look that person in the eye and let them know that you're confident," Short said.   

According to Austin Police the suspect is described as being Hispanic, around 5 foot 5, chubby, short hair or wearing a beanie.  Last seen wearing a grey shirt.

"The neighborhood is a little shocked.  We don't see a lot of this, we tend to watch each other we tend to take care of each other," said Preston Tyree, co-chair of the Mueller Neighborhood Association. 

Tyree is also Council Member Ann Kitchen's appointee on the city's Public Safety Commission.

He says after the incident Friday, he noticed police patrols of the area were stepped up.

"There were a lot of them.  Yeah.  And until they find this person they probably will spend some more time just taking a look," Tyree said.

Tyree says the neighborhood association already has safety programs in place.

"We've got a great 'Block Captain' program here where almost every block has somebody who reaches out to new people and everything," Tyree said.

He says the association will discuss this incident as well.

As for the woman fighting off her attacker...

"You do everything you possibly can, in the eyes, in the crotch, whatever," Tyree said. 

"Know your limitations in that type of situation.  So if you have taken self-defense classes that would be ideal," Officer Silva said.  "If you are walking with earbuds in your ear then just only have one headphone in your ear." 

Tyree points out there are about 7,000 people living in the Mueller neighborhood now and thousands more are on the way as developments keep coming in.

Incidents like this one Tyree says it shouldn't have to be but it's "life in the big city."  

"But we can't hide, Casey," Tyree told me.  "We can't pull the covers over our head and say 'oh it doesn't happen to me,' we have to live our lives and then deal with it.  And be prepared for it," Tyree said.

If you have any information on this case, Austin Police say to call the Sex Crimes Tip Line at 512-974-5095.