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Jogger running through park in Garfield Heights fends off attacker during violent struggle

Posted at 10:39 AM, Jun 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-11 17:45:08-04

A female jogger was able to fight off an attacker during a violent struggle while she was out running Saturday morning at the Metroparks Garfield Park Reservation.

The woman, 54, was attacked around 6:45 a.m. on the Iron Springs Loop Trail when a man approached her near the stone bridge at the bottom of the stone steps and grabbed her throat, according to Metroparks rangers. He told her not to say anything or else he would kill her, the official report said.

The woman told the rangers the man knocked her down, straddled her, covered her mouth with his hand and punched her several times in the head. While he punched her, the attacker yelled, "You f****** white b****, I'm going to kill you!" according to the Metroparks incident report.

While he was covering her mouth, the jogger bit the suspect's finger, causing him to pull his hand free and flee the area, according to rangers. The report said he ran northbound through the maintenance yard towards the intersection of Broadway Avenue and Chaincraft Road.

Metroparks officers said the woman was bleeding when they found her. They said she was taken to Marymount Hospital and is doing okay.

Saranette Dansby regularly walks in the Garfield Park Reservation, but she said after this recent violent attack, she now makes sure to carry a stick.

"No one is safe," Dansby said. "No one is safe anymore. You just have to be careful."

She isn't the only regular trail walker on edge and taking precautions.

"It makes me nervous," Patricia Parker said. "I love coming out here to walk, but of course I'm concerned about my safety. I definitely won't be walking alone."

Rangers set up a perimeter around the area after the incident and called Garfield Heights police for help. South Euclid police also assisted with a canine unit and searched the area with negative results. However, potential DNA and trace evidence were collected for analysis.

The attacker is wanted for kidnapping, felonious assault and aggravated menacing. Officers are classifying this as a hate crime.

The released 911 call reveals a concerned bystander who called police on behalf of the victim.

Listen to it below:

Info about the attacker: 

CrimeStoppers asks anyone with information about the attack to come forward. If you prefer, you can do so anonymously.