Crime & Courts

Police urge caution after second attack on Mallard Creek Greenway in two months

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police are warning greenway users to take precautions after a woman was sexually assaulted Sunday afternoon on the Mallard Creek Greenway. It was the second attack on the trail since September.

The woman was attacked at about 2 p.m. Sunday by a man who she told police approached her from behind and pulled her to the ground. The assailant choked her into unconsciousness, she said. When she regained consciousness, the suspect was on top of her but then fled, taking her cell phone.

The suspect is a black male, about 6 feet tall and weighing 200 pounds, who was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and black cargo pants, police said Monday. Police said they recovered clothing believed to be the suspect’s and will examine it for DNA evidence.

On Sept. 15, a woman jogging on the greenway was also grabbed from behind by a man who she said struck her repeatedly in the face and body. The two wrestled on the ground before the jogger was able to pepper spray the man and run away.

The two attacks have different suspects, police said Monday.

The attacker in the September case was a bald, Hispanic male who was about 5 feet 7 and 180 pounds. He had a patch of hair below his upper lip, a tribal-like tattoo on the right side of his neck and wore a square gold pinky ring. The man was last seen wearing a black, long-sleeved T-shirt and jeans.

As the investigation continues, police said the public should not avoid the Mallard Creek Greenway but stay vigilant. Police officers on trail motorcycles, bicycles and on foot will patrol it heavily this week and weekend.

“The whole University City area is concerned, as well as the University City (police) division,” Capt. Luke Sell, who leads the division, told reporters. “We want the public to be safe and to feel like they’re safe.”

Police urged greenway joggers and walkers to take these precautions: Run in groups or with a companion; use well-lit areas; stay aware of your surroundings, such as by not listening to loud music on earbuds; and let someone know your route.