District of Columbia Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said Friday Michael Davis, 19, has been charged with aggravated assault in the Thursday attack on the woman, also 19, in the Pentworth area, The Washington Post reported.
Police said they believe the assailant hit the woman in the head with a claw hammer.
The woman, whose name has not been reported, was hospitalized in critical condition.
"From what we know, this attack was sudden and completely unprovoked," Lanier said.
Police allege Michael Davis may have committed at least three similar attacks during a 27-hour span between Tuesday and Wednesday -- including one in which 66-year-old tourist Gary Dederichs was killed -- WJLA-TV, Washington, reported.
Undercover police patrolling the area heard the young woman's screams and said they noticed Michael Davis nearby. After he started running, officers gave chase and caught him blocks away, the Post said.
Michael Davis was holding a dark-colored bag containing a claw hammer, police said.