Thursday, November 30, 2017

Joggers Attacked In Fort Tryon Park Near Cloisters


By Geoffrey Croft 

Two joggers were assaulted in an attempted robbery in Fort Tryon Park according to police.

One victim was assaulted after coming to the aid of a fellow runner.  

A 47-year-old man was jogging alone inside the park when he spotted a man accosting a woman. 
He tried to defend the woman against her attacker.  The mugger had taken the phone of a 29-year-old runner.

The Good Samaritan demanded he return the phone and was punched in the face.

The incident happened inside the park on Monday morning at 9:30am.

One of the victims posted his account on Facebook.

"I would like to share what happened to me and another woman (jogger)….while we were both, independently, running through Fort Tryon Park at around 9:30 AM, Nov 27," he wrote.

The 47-year-old woman encountered a fellow jogger in the process of being robbed who was described as, "clearly in distress as she was being assaulted by a young man in the tunnel under the roadway that leads to the Cloisters,”  he wrote.

"She was crying and begged me to help her. This man had taken her phone and she told me in a panic that she was terrified because he had just hit her in the face with his fist,”  he posted.

She confronted the mugger and told him to give her phone back. 

"I was surprised when he complied and gave her phone back. Then I told him to leave the park immediately and directed him to go in the opposite direction we planned on going. 

The victim wrote that at fist the assailant complied and started to go in the opposite direction as they both began to heading south back up the hill but then he turned around and confronted both of them.

"I told the jogger to start going up the hill and blocked his path towards her. He reached in his pocket for something and indicated that he had gun or weapon in his hoodie. Whatever is was, it was protruding out of pocket but it was concealed. I thought it was just has hand but I wasn't taking any chances.     As the jogger started running up the hill I stood in his path. He approached and took his hand out of pocket and struck me in the face with his fist and whatever he had in his pocket. I was knocked over against the low stone barriers just to the west of the tunnel. I came to 5-10 seconds later and started running to catch up to the jogger. He chased us both up the hill towards the south entrance. 

A second woman who evidently had seen part of the incident was now below us. The man changed course and began to approach her back down the hill. I told the jogger to continue towards the entrance as there would certainly be more people there. The man then tried to take the 2nd woman's phone but gave up as I approached him. He ran past me toward the jogger who had stopped as she was calling the police at that point. It appeared that he was giving up as he started running toward the entrance."

Two male joggers passed in nearby Heather Gardens and she asked if they could chase the suspect down. 

The man stayed with the first victim jogger as they reached the south entrance of the park near the corner of Cabrini Place and Washington Avenue.  Police arrived minutes later. 

"About 15 minutes later the two male joggers returned and said he fled down through the stairs behind A Train station towards Broadway, but lost sight of him.  

The jogger said she too was punched in the face, but refused medical treatment. I wasn't as lucky. I spent the day in the hospital, but ultimately my injuries only amounted to bruises to my face and lacerations to my mouth and face area requiring stitches. 

I had blood all over my shirt, tights and shoes. I'm fine if a little shaken.     I hesitate to add this only because I don't know how to interpret it. The jogger told me and the police, that the man commanded her to, 'give me everything have except your shoes,' It was just after he said this to her that I came upon them. "

Her description of him is as follows:  Black male, age approximately 18-21. Approximately 5'11", slight build, short cut hair, and a wide gap in his two front teeth. 

"I am an avid runner, and run in the neighborhood 5-6 times a week. This incident will not stop me from running, anytime, anywhere in our community," he defiantly wrote. 

"I hope others feel the same way as I do. Obviously be vigilant, but do not let an outlying incident discourage you from going outside and to the parks.      I understand that it is a very different story for women running and traveling alone or even in groups. The jogger told me that she is routinely harassed by male school age youths in the area both while running and walking around.”

Read/View More:

WPIX - December 1, 2017 - By Shirly Chan

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