MERRIMAC, MASS. (WHDH) - A neighborhood in Merrimac is on edge as police search for a suspect who allegedly forced his way into a home and repeatedly assaulted a woman Saturday night, according to the Essex District Attorney’s Office.

Officers responding to a report of a woman in distress in the area of Hillside Avenue around 11:10 p.m. found a woman who told police she was awakened by a man in her bedroom armed with a knife.

The woman told police the suspect allegedly threatened her with the knife and repeatedly assaulted her, the DA’s office said. At some point, she was able to flee the scene to a nearby home, where she called the police.

She was taken to Lawrence General Hospital for treatment and is expected to be released, according to the DA.

The suspect is described as a white male in his 40s.

“This is an active investigation which means there are more questions than answers right now,” said Merrimac Police Chief Eric Shears. “I can assure the community that we are working closely with our law enforcement partners to do everything we can to locate this suspect as quickly as possible.”

“It’s very upsetting, I’m very mad, it shouldn’t have happened,” said one man who did not want to give his name. “You hear about these things happening in cities and large neighborhoods, but this a very small close-knit neighborhood, it’s very unsettling.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Merrimac Police Department at 978-346-8321.

(Copyright (c) 2022 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox