NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A woman said she had to fight off a man who tried to sexually assault her while on an early-morning jog in Prospect Park Wednesday.
As CBS2’s Raegan Medgie reported, a section of Prospect Park remained a crime scene about 12 hours after the attack near the Garfield Place and Prospect Park West entrance.
The 23-year-old woman was jogging in the park around 5:15 a.m. when a man approached her from behind, police said.
The man threw her to the ground, pulled out a knife and said he was going to sexually assault her, police said.
The woman fought back, and the man ran off after a struggle, according to police. She then called 911.
“A little disturbing,” said Yolanda Johnson.
Johnson, a retired NYPD officer, begins her day jogging in Prospect Park five days a week. As she passed the crime scene on Wednesday, it was not sitting well with her.
“This isn’t even a secluded area, you know? It’s not like she was in the woods,” Johnson said. “This is scary.”
Johnson said “good for her” upon finding out that the victim fought back. But upon learning that the suspect escaped, she said, “That’s not so good.”
Other neighbors were likewise in shock.
“Shock at first, a bit of horror that something like this would happen to someone aimlessly jogging along in the morning at 5:15 a.m.,” said Mary Phillips Nicol.
Late Wednesday afternoon, police were putting up dark blue tape. They appeared to be expanding the search area, trying to figure out what exactly happened early in the morning,
On Wednesday afternoon, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams was calling on the community to step up.
“We want to have a swift and aggressive response – and not only from the Police Department, but from civic and community groups – to catch this person,” Adams said.
Many other neighbors said they had always thought of the area as safe.
“It’s not going to change the way I exercise, but it’s definitely going to make me more cautious,” said Carol Yang.
“When it’s early, that is a risk. That is a risk,” said Bee Lee.
“It’s hard to believe this happened, because I feel very safe,” said Jordan Rivers.
Johnson said she will continue jogging at Prospect Park, but with a more careful eye.
“Just be aware of your surroundings and just be careful,” Johnson said. “And good for her that she fought back, and I hope she’s OK.”
Police said the victim suffered a cut to one of her fingers when she struggled to get away. She was taken to New York Methodist Hospital, and her condition – while unspecified – was reported to be stable.
Meanwhile, police have beefed up patrols in the park. Borough President Adams said he will be working with community organizations to provide extra watchful eyes.