FORT WAYNE – Officers will have an increased presence on the Rivergreenway where a female runner was sexually assaulted over the weekend, police said Monday.
The runner was attacked shortly before 11 a.m. Saturday near the bridge at Lower Huntington and Tillman roads. A passing motorist stopped and helped as the assailant ran north from the bridge along the Rivergreenway.
Investigators believe the Rivergreenway attack was an isolated case but plan to increase patrols on the trail, said Raquel Foster, Fort Wayne police spokeswoman.
City police have a description of the attacker and are following leads. Investigators are still hopeful someone will come forward with more information, Foster said.
Detectives believe the attacker could live in the area of Lower Huntington and Tillman roads and know the area well.
The attacker was described as between 18 and 23 years old, black and 5-foot-9 to 5-foot-10 with a medium build and light complexion.
He had an Afro about 3 inches long and wore a long sleeve Ohio State sweatshirt and red baggy knee-length shorts, police said.
Police offered these tips for anyone running, walking or biking along the Rivergreenway:
Walk or run with a friend and walk or run in familiar areas
Avoid secluded or poorly lit areas or running at night
Tell someone where youre running and how long it will take; also, carry a cellphone
Avoid using headsets or earphones so you can hear others around you
Be alert and aware of your surroundings
Wear reflective or bright-colored clothing
Carry a whistle or personal security device
On its Facebook page, the Three Rivers Running Co. had similar tips, adding that runners should carry Mace.
While police continue to investigate, a Facebook page called Strength Against Violence on Our Trails announced that an event is being organized for 11 a.m. Oct. 11.
According to the Facebook page, runners, walkers, cyclists, in-line skaters, and wheelchair riders – along with all Rivergreenway users – are invited to the Lower Huntington Road bridge at that time.
The plan is to have everyone stand shoulder to shoulder in both directions to show support for the safety of fellow trail users.
We will remain quietly but firmly in place for 30 minutes to show the community that we will not accept violence on our trails, the Facebook page said.
No monetary donation is requested.
Those with information about Saturdays attack are urged to call the Fort Wayne Police Department at 427-1222 or Crime Stoppers at 436-7867.