A woman was taken to a hospital after she was allegedly sexually assaulted near the McAlpine Creek Greenway in east Charlotte Wednesday morning, police said.
Chopper 9 Skyzoom flew over the greenway around noon, where a large Charlotte-Mecklenburg police presence was visible near Margaret Wallace Street and Independence Avenue.
According to MEDIC, the victim of the attack suffered minor injuries and was transported to a Matthews hospital. Channel 9 is working to get an update on the woman’s condition.
In a press conference Wednesday afternoon, police said a woman was walking around 11 a.m. when she said a man attacked her and tried to remove her clothes in an attempt to rape her. The victim was able to fight off the suspect and call 911, authorities said.
Police said it appears to be a random attack.
“During the match, he started to resist a little bit. She was able to get her cell phone, call for help and notify 911 who responded,” said Cpt. Jim Wright.
Police initially blocked off the greenway, but it has since reopened.
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CMPD said they are looking for a man who is heavyset and about 5 feet, 6 inches tall. She is described as having braided hair and wearing black clothing. Police said the suspect may also have injuries to his face or hands from where the victim fought back.
Anyone with information on the suspect’s whereabouts is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.
CMPD said they will have extra patrols in the area and on the greenway.
“We’d like to put out, anyone walking at any time — be aware of your surroundings, know where you’re going, let someone else know where you’re going, have a cell phone, if necessary call 911 on any suspicious person.” Wright said.
Channel 9’s Hannah Goetz spoke to a group of women walking the greenway Wednesday morning after the attack. The incident has many people he spoke to thinking twice about being alone on the greenway.
“I’m just trying to be alert. I’m always looking behind me and I’m not on my phone because that’s our number one distraction,” said one woman.
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Channel 9’s Glenn Counts spoke with Makayla Newman at the NoDa Run Club on Wednesday night. Newman told Counts she has been running since high school.
Newman said the incident on the McAlpine Creek Greenway caught her attention. “It’s something that upsets me, it upsets most women,” Newman said.
He said the club has been thinking a lot more about security lately after the kidnapping and murder of Memphis jock Eliza Fletcher.
The club held a minute’s silence for Fletcher and said Wednesday night’s run was dedicated to her.
“As a running community, we all understand the dangers of going out for a run. This risk is even more significant for female runners,” said club organizer Zachery Colburn.
Newman said she doesn’t want to give in to fear and sometimes jogs alone. He acknowledged that he has been put in some uncomfortable situations.
“I’ve been called while I’m running and walking. and it doesn’t upset me so much, but it just reminds me that I’m not necessarily safe if things don’t go well,” Newman said.
(BELOW: Attack in downtown Charlotte leads to arrest of 5 bikers in bike group, CMPD says)