PORTAGE, Mich. — Tuesday’s sunny and 70-degree weather brought out the usual crowd to Lakeview Park. Children ran around with their friends, families fished together at Austin Lake and a few runners were jogging on the trail. It also brought unwanted company as well. Portage police said one woman was attacked from behind and tackled to the ground.
"She was running in a semi-secluded area of the park, a little slight wooded area and a little bit away from everyone else,” said Deputy Chief John Blue with the Portage Police Department.
She screamed for help, he said. Nearby patrons heard her and rushed to help her out. When police arrived on scene they began searching for the suspect. She described him as a young black male, early 20s, thin-build, wearing a white tank top and camouflage shorts. She mentioned she might’ve seen him riding on a bike earlier during her run.
“It was alarming,” said resident Stephanie Norg who was enjoying the afternoon Thursday with her friends and kids. “This is our neighborhood. So anytime there’s a threat to anybody, whether I knew her or not, I feel for her.”
The unidentified woman is doing ‘ok’ after the attack, Dep. Chief Blue said. They’ve since received tips and are following up on them while searching for the suspect. To prevent this from happening in the future, he recommends runners remain alert and aware of their surroundings at all times.
“You can alter your route slightly,” he advised. “You can also maybe run with a friend or a companion. Know the area that you’re running in. Get familiar with it even more if it’s off the beaten path. Just be self aware.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call Portage Public Safety at (269) 329-4567 or Silent Observer at (269) 343-2100, www.kalamazoosilentobserver.com.