18-year-old arrested for attempted sexual assault of employee at DC hotel

D.C. police have arrested an 18-year-old man for an attempted sexual assault of a female employee at a downtown D.C. hotel.

Ernesto Agustin Mendoza has been charged with assault with intent to commit first-degree sexual abuse while armed.

According to police, Mendoza sneaked into the Grand Hyatt Washington hotel in Northwest D.C. on Nov. 26. He made his way up to the 11th floor where he encountered the employee. Armed with a knife, he attempted to force the victim to undress inside a room.

Police say a violent struggle ensued as the suspect attempted to take off his pants during the attempt to sexually assault her. During the attack, the suspect grabbed the victim's hair and even pulled it off the scalp. But the employee was able to fight him off, escape the room and contact police.

"It was a brazen attack," said D.C. Police Capt. Chanel Dickerson in November. "The suspect entered through a side door of the hotel that was not shut properly and made his way to the guest floors inside of the hotel, pushed his way inside of a hotel room and attempted to sexually assault the victim."

D.C. police were able to track down Mendoza thanks to a Metro card he was using and the help of Metro Transit Police.

"Metro Transit Police notified us that the suspect was in the Metro transit system, in the train system," said D.C. Police Lt. John Haines on Thursday. "They tracked him out to the Landover station area where he had exited out of the Metro system. Detectives from Metro Transit Police had recent video that day of the individual using the Metro card and they were able to locate him very close by and stopped him. Our detectives responded working very closely with them. We were able to identify him and obtained an arrest warrant that evening."