San Diego police released a composite sketch Thursday of the man suspected of sexually assaulting a woman walking along a trail at Balboa Park, allegedly grabbing her and forcing her to the ground.
According to the San Diego Police Department, the suspect remains at large and is described as an African American man between 25 and 30 years old. He’s 5-foot-8 to 5-foot-11, weighs between 175 and 200 pounds and has short, dark, slightly thinning hair. He was clean shaven and wore a white T-shirt, green cargo-type pants, green plaid boxers and white or beige loafer-style shoes during the alleged assault.
The victim told police that as she was walking, an unknown man allegedly ran up to her from behind, grabbed her, threw her to the ground and then jumped on top of her.
Police said the victim was able to successfully fight off the assailant.
During the tussle, a couple coincidentally walked onto the trail, which police believe scared off the attacker. Upon seeing the passersby, the suspect fled the scene. He was last seen running north toward the Cabrillo Bridge.
The witnesses that walked onto the trail helped the victim and flagged down an officer near the park to report the sexual assault.
Officers canvassed Balboa Park immediately following the assault and stayed there into the night, asking visitors at the entrance and exit if they knew of anyone that might match the suspect’s description.
SDPD sex crimes Lt. Chuck Kay said the last such assault was also on the Bridle Trail in 2008, but said crimes of this type are rare.
Still, the incident left locals shaken up, especially those who regularly walk along Balboa Park’s many trails.
Resident Leslie Bolick visits the park at dusk five days a week and said she has never felt afraid to walk the trails alone.
“I'm shocked. I do the trails on the weekdays in the afternoon but then I wouldn't think twice about it,” Bolick told NBC 7 in an interview earlier this week.
Locals Paidgette Steer and Daniel Tinelli admitted they have a love-hate relationship with the park.
“We know there are a lot of people that come and sleep here. There are a lot of sex offenders back in these parts,” Tinelli said. “It's kinda sad.”
The investigation into this case is ongoing. Anyone with information should contact the SDPD.