NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A woman was punched in the face by a stranger while walking her dog on the Upper West Side and on Tuesday, the attacker was still on the loose.
The now-terrified expectant mother spoke exclusively to CBS2’s Ali Bauman.READ MORE: Annual Juneteenth Festival In Bedford-Stuyvesant Takes On New Meaning In 2021
Reilly Starr has a lot on her plate lately. She’s seven-months pregnant and only moved to the neighborhood with her husband and border collie a few weeks ago.
“Riverside Park is not only good for our dog but during my maternity leave I’m excited to have a place to walk around a lot,” she said.
She took her dog for a walk in the park by 91st Street just before 8 p.m. Sunday. Even though dogs aren’t allowed off-leash until 9, she said she let her’s run free.
“From behind me I hear yelling,” she said. “The person wrapped around me and said ‘Don’t you see the sign about your dog?'”
Starr says she apologized to man clad in jogging gear. As she put the leash back on her dog, she says he recorded her.
“He puts his phone very close to my face which is not a comfortable feeling when someone is screaming at you so I pushed the phone away,” she said.READ MORE: Georgia Man Arrested For 2020 Rape Of Woman Who Was Dragged Into Queens Alley
That’s when, Starr says, the crazed jogger decked her.
“He flat out just punched me in the eye and that’s when I screamed ‘I’m pregnant!’ and he said ‘well, you touched me’, and he ran away,” she said.
Starr admits she knowingly broke the rules and took her dog off the leash an hour before it’s allowed, but she says the man’s reaction does not fit the offense.
“I didn’t antagonize, and I was willing to cooperate,” Starr said. She called police, but the assailant got away.
“He shouldn’t go punching people in the face,” Upper West Side resident Gail Baharry said. “That’s wrong.”
Starr has since been to the doctor who says the baby is okay, and physically so is she. Still, the soon-to-be mom is terrified.
“You’re concerned about stress that can happen and I’m okay I’m pretty sure but if you’ve ever been in a situation like this it’s already concerning enough, but when you’re pregnant,” she said.MORE NEWS: NYPD: 24-Year-Old Driver Struck, Seriously Hurt Woman During Brooklyn Carjacking
The lesson, Starr learned, is to never underestimate anyone’s anger.