SAN ANTONIO, TX – A man who San Antonio police have identified as a suspect in a series of rapes and attacks on women in the Medical Center graduated high school just this week.
Barry Perez, communications director for the Northside Independent School District, confirmed that Anton Jamail Harris, 18, received his diploma from John Marshall High School earlier this week.
By Thursday night, he was taking a slow shuffle before news crews to a waiting patrol car—the journey to jail after his arrest.
Chief William McManus said investigators have no doubt about what he has been doing outside the classroom.
"A serial predator, a sexual predator who was working up in the Medical Center area," he said.
McManus said through DNA evidence, detectives were able to tie Harris to six cases at various apartment complexes in that part of town.
As of Friday morning, charges had been filed in connection with four aggravated sexual assaults, one attempted sexual assault, and one aggravated robbery.
The police chief said he expects more charges could be filed later, and more victims could come forward.
He said Harris’ arrest came about as the result of a long, tough investigation.
"They were different apartment complexes but in the same area. And that's what made this case so difficult. The area was very wide. It was like looking for a needle in a haystack," McManus said.
He said detectives were able to obtain DNA evidence at every crime scene, but he declined to elaborate much on how they obtained a DNA sample from Harris. McManus would say only that it came from a cup he discarded.
An arrest warrant affidavit, however, offers a few more details.
It said that investigators already had identified Harris as a person of interest.
Working with NISD police, SAPD detectives were able to retrieve a cup and straw that Harris had left on a school table, the affidavit said.
The court document said they then tested the straw for DNA, and it proved to match DNA evidence from the crime scenes.
News of Harris’ arrest came as a relief to people who live in the area.
"Good. Good. I'm glad they did because everybody was worried,” said Jose Valentin. "Now I'll tell (my wife) that there's nothing to worry about. But she still keeps a handgun around. "
Valentin lives in the apartment complex, in the 5600 block of Babcock, where the latest attack took place.
He said since that incident May 28, everyone has been on edge.
At another apartment complex a short distance away, Ruth Amen said she also has been fearful.
"I'm so glad they caught him because it was very scary, especially for single people,” she said.
Now it’s Harris who faces a troubling future. Just days after his high school graduation, he could be on a path to prison.
Don't miss a thing. Get email alerts from KSAT12 today.
Get alerted to news events as they happen or sign up for a scheduled news headline email that is delivered right to your inbox. Breaking news, severe weather, daily forecasts, entertainment news, all of the day’s important events to keep you up to date wherever you are.
Sign up today. It's Free.