INDIANPOLIS — The man accused of stabbing a woman on the Cultural Trail last week is now being charged with even more attacks from the day before, all in the same area of downtown involving random women.
“It’s a crazy case,” said Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears. “It’s just brazen acts where you are literally threatening lives and attempting to do harm to people in broad daylight in front of multiple witnesses.”
At least 7 women were attacked downtown between June 17-18, all in broad daylight. Investigators believe all of them were attacked by the same man, 37-year-old Victor Johnson. He’s now facing 22 charges, including attempted murder and attempted rape.
“The amount of years we’re talking here is literally in terms of centuries,” Mears said.
Johnson was arrested after being tackled by witnesses, who saw Johnson stab a woman along the Cultural Trail on June 18. According to court documents, she was passing him on the trail when he got in her face, pulled her to the ground and asked for sex. After refusing and trying to get away, the woman was stabbed in the neck.
According to court documents, the victim suffered significant blood loss and was rushed to the hospital. She is now in stable condition.
“It’s hard to believe that happens,” Mears said. “Just the risk he posed to these women is incredible. I mean some people were seriously hurt, I hope that’s not lost in this.”
The stabbing was the last in a string of attacks over two days in which Johnson is accused of approaching women with a knife and asking for hugs or even more.
“I feel really lucky, my goodness,” said one victim, who asked for her name to not be released.
The woman was attacked on June 18 near the corner of Alabama and New York. She was able to fight him off before witnesses heard her scream and came to help.
This all happened just one hour after two other women called police, saying they were attacked by a man downtown.
“The policemen that came were thinking it was an isolated thing, they didn’t know anything about it,” she said. “I gave them a description and a picture, with that they should’ve looked for him.”
Johnson has had a long criminal history. He spent nearly 9 years in prison before being released in 2013. In the fall he was charged with battery, which according to police reports involved a female student at Marian University. He was sentenced to probation after just 3 days in jail.
Johnson’s address is listed as a homeless shelter, and court documents indicate he has mental health issues.
“That’s one of the challenges that we face with individuals who are homeless and who have mental health issues is what do you do to them, what kind of punishment do you give to people,” Mears said.
“The biggest goal for us is what can we do to help change this person’s behavior, how can we direct them to resources, but part of that is people have to be willing to take advantage of the resources that are available to them.”
Johnson violated probation less than 4 months later and was supposed to appear again in court earlier this year. Due to COVID-19 that court date never happened.
“The challenge with that on individuals who are homeless and don’t have economic means, they’re not in the position where they can get in front of a laptop and appear for a zoom case. It really does require their appearance to come down, and that wasn’t possible due to COVID,” Mears said.
The victim from last Wednesday says she learned about Johnson’s arrest and charges in her case from social media, as she and many other women recover from their physical and emotional injuries.
“It’s hard when you think somebody is going to kill you. I’ve never had that experience before, hopefully I’m going to be ok,” the victim said, “I try not to think about it and talk about it all the time, just get it out of my brain. It’s gonna take time.”
Police reports from that week also show that more women were attacked downtown with similar circumstances. Johnson is not accused in those cases, but Mears acknowledged the similarities and didn’t rule out the possibility of additional charges in the future.