San Jose man charged in sexual assault, robbery of teacher in classroom

San Jose police have arrested a 23-year-old man suspected of sexually assaulting and robbing a teacher in her classroom at Harker Middle School in San Jose.

The suspect, Andrew Bracamonte, was identified by police as a San Jose resident who lived about a half-mile from the school.

Police Chief Eddie Garcia said that around 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, Bracamonte walked into the teacher’s classroom, locked the door and turned off the lights.

“The suspect then sexually assaulted the victim and stole personal items before leaving the room,” Garcia said. “In addition, the suspect threatened to shoot the victim if she did not stay inside the classroom. Though she did not see a weapon, she feared for her life.”

The teacher, who has not been identified, called the police immediately. Officers found video footage that showed Bracamonte before and after the assault. They found the victim’s cell phone and the suspect’s beanie cap in a nearby field, Garcia said, and a police dog traced the scent to a neighborhood where police later learned Bracamonte lived.

Police released a description of the suspect to the public. He was caught on video surveillance at a liquor store in Santa Clara and again outside a flower shop. Garcia said they were able to match the description to Bracamonte, using “investigative techniques.”

Though Bracamonte fled to San Francisco and cut his hair, San Jose police located him and arrested him without incident around 7:55 p.m. Thursday.

Garcia said that Bracamonte has a criminal history, including charges of sex with a minor and assault with a deadly weapon. He was not a registered sex offender, on parole or on probation at the time of this arrest.

Bracamonte has been booked into Santa Clara County Jail on felony charges, including forced oral copulation, robbery, false imprisonment and criminal threats.

Garcia emphasized the bravery of the victim after extreme trauma.

“The strength of this victim in this case can’t be forgotten, either,” Garcia said. “I don’t think any of us can really imagine what the victim went through. Just to be able to cooperate with the police and give us a detailed segment of the horror that she must have felt was just … I can’t even put it into words.”

Sophie Haigney is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: Twitter: @SophieHaigney

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