A woman was sexually assaulted in Claremont Monday morning after she was pushed to the ground during her morning jog, officials said.
The victim, who asked to be identified only as Murphy, was jogging through Blaisdell Park in the 400 block of College Avenue around 7 a.m. when a man approached her from behind, according to the Claremont Police Department.
He pushed her to the ground, and sexually assaulted her, police said.
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"I was just running listening to my headphones and someone from behind me, who I did not see, put their arms around me and knocked me into the grass," Murphy said.
She said she started screaming for help, and that she bit him as hard as she could when he tried to muffle her screams.
The woman fought back aggressively, and he quickly got up and ran away, police said.
"This is shocking, I come here all the time," said a female Claremont resident who wanted to remain unidentified. "I guess I'm going to be cautious."
Investigators have deemed the attack a sexual assault because the man placed his hands on the victim, and slapped her buttocks at one point during the attack. Murphy added that her attacker started pulling down her pants.
"The whole time my mind was thinking how do I get him away from me, how do I stop this from happening," Murphy said.
After she called 911, police began their search for the attacker, who had reportedly wrapped his head with a flannel shirt.
"I only saw right between his eyebrows and his upper lip," Murphy said. "He was kind of smiling at me."
Police described the man as being about 6 feet tall, weighing about 200 pounds, in his 20s or 30s, with brown hair, brown eyes and a light mustache. He was wearing tan pants, and a red and white baseball-type shirt, according to the Claremont Police Department.
The victim suffered some superficial injuries including some scratches during the attack, said Mike Ciszek, Detective Bureau Lieutenant for the Claremont Police Department.
Ciszek recommended that joggers alter their course so possible attackers won't be able predict their location easily.
"Be aware of your surroundings as much as possible," Ciszek said. He added that people should use a buddy system, even if it means letting someone know when they plan to return from a run.
"It's up to you, don't play possum, don't go limp, fight back, because you are the only one who's going to save you in time," Murphy said.
Anyone with information about the attack is encouraged to call the Claremont Police Department at 909-399-5411.