CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) — A man has been arrested for allegedly assaulting and strangling a woman in Carolina Beach Sunday evening.
Several Good Samaritans helped police stop the suspect when they heard a woman screaming for help on the 200 block of Sand Fiddler Lane.
“My sister and I just heard some weird screams,” a neighbor, who did not want to be identified, said.
Neighbors were sitting on their deck Sunday evening around 5 p.m. They weren’t sure where the screams were coming from, but they perked up and kept listening.
“Over the screams you could hear a muffled, ‘Help. Help me. Somebody help me,'” the neighbor said.
One neighbor says they ran outside and around the corner to find a man attacking a woman in a parking lot.
“On top of her with his hands over her mouth and around her neck,” the neighbor said. “Like strangling her and suffocating her.”
That neighbor says the victim told them she didn’t know the man, and had just come into town to visit and was taking out the trash.
“He had her in a parking spot between the recycling bin and a truck that was parked in the next spot over,” the neighbor said.
Carolina Beach Police say Sergio Aguilor-Mendoza, 21, is now charged with assault by strangulation, assault on a female and other drinking-related charges.
The neighbor says they immediately started screaming at him to get off her.
“When he got off of her, he just got up and walked away non-chalantly,” she said. “He didn’t run. Just started non-chalantly walking away.”
The neighbor says several Good Samaritans followed Aguilor-Mendoza while they called 911 and held him down until police got there. She says she’s just glad things didn’t end much worse.
“It makes you aware you definitely have to be aware of your surroundings,” she said. “Even in the daylight.”
Aguilor-Mendoza is being held in the New Hanover County Jail under a $15,000 bond.