KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Police are searching for a suspect after a woman was reportedly assaulted in a local greenway.
Early Friday morning, Knoxville Police Department officers were dispatched to a report of an aggravated assault that occurred in the 1200 block of Cherokee Boulevard, where a female victim says she was assaulted while running on the Sequoyah Greenway.
According to KPD, while running Friday morning, the victim said she noticed an unknown man in shorts and running shoes, shirtless, running toward her.
The victim told KPD that as the man passed her, he struck her on the side of her head with a hard object wrapped inside of a white towel. She then observed the unknown man run into the woods west of the 1200 block of Cherokee Boulevard.
The suspect is described as a white male, perhaps in his mid-40s, 5’5” with brown hair and brown eyes, wearing a ball cap, khaki shorts, running shoes
and no shirt.
The victim sustained several minor injuries and declined medical evaluation, KPD said.
“A concerted effort between the Violent Crimes unit, the Violence Reduction Team and patrol officers has been launched to locate the suspect,” KPD release stated. “Additional patrol resources are being committed to the area of the assault until the suspect has been apprehended.”
The investigation is ongoing.
As police beef up patrols in the area, avid runner Kristy Altman is sharing the precautions she takes before hitting the trails.
“I make sure that at least one person knows where I’m going, and that they know where I’m going to park, how far I’m going to run, and what I expect the length to be for that run,” she said.
And if you’re out running by yourself asking, “what should I do?” Altman recommends using only one earbud when listening to music and making eye contact with the people you pass.
“Keep your head up, and make sure that you’re not hiding behind your sunglasses, and just keep aware of your surroundings, and what’s going on around you at all times,” she said.
WATE 6 On Your Side is working to learn more about this incident and search for the suspect. We will update as additional details become available.