A woman walking along a trail at San Diego’s popular Balboa Park Tuesday was reportedly attacked by an unknown man trying to sexually assault her, police confirmed.
The San Diego Police Department said the incident happened around 1:15 p.m. along the Bridle Trail on the western side of the park(see map below), south of Balboa Park Bridge, near Quince and Balboa.
The victim told police that as she was walking, a 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 man.
During the tussle, a couple coincidentally walked onto the trail, which police believe scared off the attacker. Upon seeing the passersby, the man fled the scene.
He was last seen running north toward the Balboa Park Bridge, police said.
The couple that walked onto the scene – a husband and wife – helped the victim and flagged down an officer near the park to report the incident.
As of 4:30 p.m., the attempted rape suspect remained at large.
For now, police describe the accused attacker as an African American man, dark complexion, between 25 and 30 years old, 5-foot-8 to 5-foot-11, between 175 to 200 pounds with a medium build. He had short, dark, slightly thinning hair and was clean shaven. He wore a white T-shirt, green cargo-type pants over green plaid boxers and white or beige loafer-style shoes.
Leslie Bolick is in the park at dusk five days a week. Bolick lives nearby and said she has never felt afraid to be on 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 said.
Paidgette Steer and Daniel Tinelli 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.”
“There are always homeless people on the sidewalk and I think of those people as harmless. So I would have to think this is a different kind of person,” Bolick said.
Officers canvassed the park Tuesday night. Police said the trails are empty at night but they were at the entrances and exits asking questions of anyone who might match the description of the suspect.
Sex crimes detective Chuck Kay says the last such assault was also on the Bridle Trail in 2008. Crimes of this type are very rare.
Anyone with information on this case should contact the SDPD.