Riverside Park Visitors On Edge After Assault On Woman Walking Dog

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The NYPD was searching late Thursday for a man behind a violent attack in Riverside Park last week.

As CBS2’s Ali Bauman reported, all police had to go on late Thursday was a sketch, and a harrowing tale from the victim.

Riverside Park Assault Suspect

A surveillance image of a suspect who allegedly put a woman in a headlock and tried to kiss her in Riverside Park on Friday, Aug. 5, 2016. (Credit: NYPD)

On two feet or four, Riverside Park is usually a peaceful walk for Upper West Siders.

“It feels very safe; beautiful,” said jogger Marshall Moore. “I like forget I’m in New York.”

But since the attack, joggers and bikers, leisurely strollers and dog walkers have been looking over their shoulders.

Police said around 5:20 a.m. this past Friday, the 48-year-old woman was walking her dog in the park near 107th Street, when the man came up and asked her for the time.

“I wouldn’t come down to this part of the park at 5 a.m., but I’ve certainly walked my dog at 5,” said Laura Braunson of the Upper West Side.

Police said the man put the woman in a headlock, and she hit him in the groin. He let her go, but he put her in a headlock again and tried to kiss her on the lips, police said.

The woman bit the man on the lips, and he ran off, police said.

“Serves him right,” a parkgoer said.

Women in the park were applauding the victim late Thursday for doing what they hope they would have the courage to do, if ever in that terrifying situation.

“That would be my gut reaction to just give him hell and hope for the best,” said Christine McNeal of the Upper West Side. “But you know, that’s all you can do. Fight or flight takes over.”

The suspect was described as a Hispanic male between 20 and 30 with a muscular build and a medium complexion. He weighed about 145 to 155 pounds and had short, curly brown hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a gray shirt, khaki shorts and white sneakers.

Anyone with information was asked to call the NYPD Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS or (888) 57-PISTA for Spanish, log onto the Crime Stoppers website, or text tips to 274637 (CRIMES) and enter TIP577.

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