Police Urge Caution After Cameron Park Attacks - kcentv.com - KCEN HD - Waco, Temple, and Killeen

Police Urge Caution After Cameron Park Attacks

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(KCEN) -- Scenic views and twisting trails make Waco's Cameron Park a favorite among joggers and cyclists, but some regulars are thinking twice about its safety after two women were attacked.

"I come out here all the time by myself and don't worry about it and then today I was kind of like, I shouldn't be here," bicyclist Rachel Jones told us Thursday at Cameron Park.

Both attempted attacks happened this week.

The first happened around noon on Tuesday.

A woman was jogging alone on a trail just north of Jacobs Ladder when she was targeted by a Hispanic male.

"He comes up behind her and grabs her behind, inappropriately touching on her and you know tries to kind of move her off towards a secluded path, and she wouldn't have any of that," said Waco Police Spokesman Sgt. Patrick Swanton.

Swanton said another jogger sent the suspect running off into the woods and the victim got away. But by the time she reported it to police, so had the suspect.

"A good 30 minutes had gone by, so we get there and obviously he's gone," Swanton said.

But he didn't stay gone for long.

He struck again the following day, targeting another woman jogging alone in the same area, but this time only approaching and motioning her to follow him into the woods.

Swanton said when she refused the suspect put his hands down his pants and started grabbing himself and making obscene gestures.

"She turns and leaves; she saw a park ranger and told a park ranger who immediately called us," he said.

Officers quickly responded and found a man in the area matching the woman's description. Detectives have since identified a person of interest but an arrest has not yet been made and until one is park goers said the park won't feel the same.

"It doesn't worry me too much since he seems to be targeting females but I think it's annoying," said Cameron Park regular Colorado Lowe. "I want everyone to be able to enjoy the park."

Park regular Jon Telford agreed.

"It's a beautiful place," Telford said. "People should be able to come here and exercise and run and stuff without having to worry about that kind of stuff."

Swanton also agreed but said these types of events can happen anywhere at any time.

He cautions citizens to be on high alert, regardless of where they are, and recommends the following tips:

• Always let someone know where you are and when you are expected to return.

• Don't jog or hike alone. Run in groups or with other individuals. If it's not possible then run in areas where people are around, not secluded trails, paths, etc…

• Stay alert to your surroundings.

• If something or someone does not appear right, leave the area and immediately notify Police.

• Have a cell phone with you at all times to notify someone in an emergency.

• Be cautious with using headphones as they may impede your ability to hear someone approaching you from behind.

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