Man arrested for assaulting woman walking dog in Virginia park, charged with hate crime

Posted at 9:49 AM, May 09, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-09 17:46:11-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. – Chesterfield County Police arrested a man forattacking a woman who was walking her dog in Richmond National Battlefield Park.

Horace Stephenson III, 43, of Alexandria, Virginia, was charged with:

  • Strangulation
  • Robbery
  • Illegal use of tear gas or other gases
  • Assault and battery – hate crime
  • Obstruction from summoning 911

"On April 28, a woman was walking her dogs on the trail when she was approached by a male suspect," a Chesterfield Police spokesperson wrote in an email. "He tried to speak to her, but she did not respond; he became angry and began assaulting her. The victim screamed for help and the suspect stopped the assault, took the victim’s phone, and fled."
The incident happened at Drewry’s Bluff (Fort Darling Trail), in Richmond National Battlefield Park, at about 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, April 28, according to police.

Richmond National Battlefield Park
Drewry’s Bluff (Fort Darling Trail), in Richmond National Battlefield Park

Sergeant Winfred Lewis with Chesterfield County Police's Special Victim's Unit said in a press conference Thursday that Stephenson was charged with a hate crime, based on what the victim shared with investigators.

"There were some comments made specifically about her being a woman, and things escalated from there," Lewis said.

"Detectives worked with the Howard County, Md., Police Department to take Stephenson into custody on May 8. Stephenson remains in custody in Howard County, Md., pending extradition to Chesterfield," police said.

Though it's unclear why Stephenson was in Chesterfield at the time of the alleged assault, investigators said a piece of evidence tied to his vehicle led to his arrest.

Police say the tear gas charge is tied to the suspect allegedly using the victim's own pepper spray on her during the assault.

The robbery and obstruction from summoning 911 is tied to the suspect allegedly stealing the victim's phone, leaving her unable to call for authorities in the secluded park.

After the suspect fled the scene, police said the victim drove to a 7-Eleven about half a mile away to make a call.

Detectives say Stephenson did not know the victim, and based on what they uncovered through their investigation, they would not be surprised if other victims with similar stories came forward following his arrest.

"I can tell you, it appears that he's in multiple localities in any given day and time," Lewis said. "There doesn't seem to be a rhyme or reason. There seems to be some transience."

According to court records, Stephenson is due in Fairfax General District Court this July for a slew of charges, including two charges for assaulting a law enforcement officer.

In 2014, Shephenson was also charged with assault and abduction of a woman in a gas station bathroom in Loudoun County.

Anyone with information was asked to call Chesterfield Police at 804-748-1251 or Crime Solvers at 804-748-0660.

Local News

Visitor shocked to learn about Richmond National Battlefield Park attack

Elizabeth Holmes
4:44 PM, Apr 29, 2024
Richmond National Battlefield Park

Local News

Police: Woman walking dogs assaulted in Richmond National Battlefield Park

WTVR CBS 6 Web Staff
7:35 PM, Apr 28, 2024

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email to send a tip.

EAT IT, VIRGINIA restaurant news and interviews



Watch 'The Jennifer Hudson Show' weekdays at 3 p.m. on CBS 6!

📱 Download CBS 6 News App
The app features breaking news alerts, live video, weather radar, traffic incidents, closings and delays and more.