Woman attacked by man in southwest Austin park

Circle C Ranch Metropolitan Park where a woman was grabbed and pushed to the ground by a man on Friday, May 20, 2016 (KXAN Photo/Amanda Brandeis)
Circle C Ranch Metropolitan Park where a woman was grabbed and pushed to the ground by a man on Friday, May 20, 2016. Another woman was assaulted on Aug. 1, 2016 (KXAN Photo/Amanda Brandeis)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A woman was attacked by a man in a southwest Austin park Friday afternoon. She escaped uninjured.

Austin police say the man came up behind a woman drinking from a water fountain in Circle C Ranch Metropolitan Park and grabbed her. The suspect pushed the woman to the ground and then ran away.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Maria Baca, who plays disc golf at the park. “Where’s the respect? Where can you be safe?”

Many at the park describe it as a safe place for families.

“We’re out here all the time,” said Bridgette Bloomquist. “My kids both play for Lonestar Soccer and so we practice out here usually two or three times a week.”

Bloomquist says there’s typically a lot of people at the park during the day, but now that soccer season has ended, it’s much quieter.

“She’s working with a one-on-one coach out here today for a soccer program, and I decided that I’d rather stay out here and just kind of keep an eye on things,” said Bloomquist. “We did tell the coach, he hadn’t heard about the incident. So I said, ‘Please make sure you do not leave the girls alone.'”

Police were called to the park, located at Slaughter Lane and Escarpment Boulevard, at 12:21 p.m.

Rogue Running is reminding its members about how to be vigilant on the trail by not wearing ear phones and running with a partner.

“Our runners in general are pretty vigilant because there’s been a number of attacks around Austin, more recently in North Austin along the 183 corridor, and this one today in Circle C,” said Chris McClung, a Rogue Running co-owner. “If you are attacked physically, then do what you can to attack those vulnerable areas of your attacker — gouging the eyes or attacking the vulnerable areas in the groin — are ways you can potentially fight off an attack.”

He advises runners to be loud and scream for help if they’re being attacked.

“Certainly be aware and do the things to protect yourself, but don’t be scared, be defiant,” said McClung.

The suspect is described as a Hispanic male with a beard, 40-45 years old, wearing a black baseball hat, a long-sleeve black shirt and “dirty, construction-type jeans.”

An APD watch commander initially said the woman was dragged. Police later clarified the woman was grabbed and pushed down.

While police have not linked this attack to any others, police in North Austin have been investigating a series of sexual assaults.

They think the same man has attacked eight women along the 183 corridor since last November.

Last month KXAN reported police were taking a new approach to solving the case, asking managers for information on contractors in the area. However, so far, no arrests have been made.

Police do have a sketch of the suspect, but are only showing it to victims at this time. Victims say the man is white or Hispanic in his mid 20s. They say he has a skinny build with short brown hair, dark eyes and wears a mask covering part of his face.

Circle C Ranch Metropolitan Park, where a woman was grabbed and pushed down by a man on Friday, May 20, 2016 (KXAN Photo/Amanda Brandeis)
Circle C Ranch Metropolitan Park, where a woman was grabbed and pushed down by a man on Friday, May 20, 2016 (KXAN Photo/Amanda Brandeis)

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