West Seattle Crime Watch: Runner reports attack, writes a warning

April 3, 2013 at 9:41 am | In Crime, West Seattle news | 132 Comments

9:41 AM: That message in chalk in the 5400 block of California SW (map) is meant as a warning – a local woman reports being attacked while out running early this morning, and wants everyone to be careful. We got first word from a later passer-by who saw the message in chalk and e-mailed us about it; while researching to find out more, we got a call from the victim. She says the attacker came out of nowhere; she says she was not seriously hurt and did not need medical attention, but is concerned for everyone’s safety because police searching the area didn’t find her attacker. Here’s a wider view of the area:

We are following up with police, having called them even before hearing from the victim; they’re looking up the report, so we’ll add any additional information (including a description) if/when we get it.

10:09 AM UPDATE: Here’s what police say about the incident:

A woman was attacked this morning in West Seattle. Just shortly after 5:00 am, the victim was jogging Southbound on the East side-mid block in the 5400 block of California Av SW when the unknown suspect came out of the shadows and grabbed her. The man grabbed the victim’s waist, pulled her down into crouch position and fondled her genital area. The victim screamed and the suspect immediately let go and ran off Northbound and then turned East onto SW Brandon St.

The victim stated that during the attack the suspect did not say anything or react to anything she said to him. Officers arrived and canvassed the area for the suspect and any possible witnesses.
The victim declined medics.

Suspect’s description- Unknown race male, 5’9, wearing a dark colored hoodie and dark pants.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call 9-1-1. Anonymous tips are welcome.

132 Comments

  1. Good for her for warning others! I’m glad she’s ok.

    Comment by datamuse — 9:43 am April 3, 2013 #

  2. Anyone ever thought of starting a posse and rounding up all these perverts? Then we could show them what a REAL good time is like.

    Comment by QQman — 9:49 am April 3, 2013 #

  3. So frustrating! I ran right by here yesterday evening. Thank you for the warning. It’s greatly appreciated.

    Comment by Jojofrenchfry — 9:53 am April 3, 2013 #

  4. oh my… I hope she is okay. I hope it’s not the one lady that runs really early in the morning. I use to run around the same time she did.

    Comment by Amy — 9:55 am April 3, 2013 #

  5. This particular block is on my regular running route. I’m thankful she wrote the warning, am extremely upset this happened to her, and feel particularly unsafe running alone.

    Comment by LD — 9:57 am April 3, 2013 #

  6. I agree. We should round up every single person who looks like a pervert to us and mash em into the ground. INTO THE GROUND!!!

    Do we get hats and badges? Well, just hats. WE DONT NEED NO STINKING BADGES!

    No, Sir. There will not be any posse roundy uppies today.

    Comment by WMF — 9:59 am April 3, 2013 #

  7. @QQman, oh but that would go against their rights according to our justice system. Isn’t it grand? *rolls eyes*

    Comment by H — 10:00 am April 3, 2013 #

  8. I have a feeling that they’re not going to sell that house anytime soon.

    Comment by Pod — 10:05 am April 3, 2013 #

  9. scary isn’t that right across the street from Park West Nursing home…such vulnerable people living there!

    Comment by nichole — 10:11 am April 3, 2013 #

  10. What a great use of sidewalk chalk. I can only imagine how scary that was for her. So glad you’re OK.

    Comment by WSS — 10:11 am April 3, 2013 #

  11. Ergh. I walked down this way before the note was written, and there were a TON of cops out, driving around the area. Some were just sitting on Brandon off California. Now I know why.
    Guess it’s time to be far more vigilant while I, too, am taking my morning jaunt. I hope she is OK, and am glad she reported it to the police.

    Comment by Megan — 10:12 am April 3, 2013 #

  12. Wow, what a quaint notion—a system of justice more sophisticated than the mob mentality of vigilantes.
    It sounds vaguely like the Magna Carta or the Bill of Rights or Constitution or something…oh well, saddle up, boys.

    Comment by anti-obstruction — 10:13 am April 3, 2013 #

  13. Nichole – no, Park West is about three miles north, in the 1700 block of California. I’ve included a map link in this story but if it helps for placement, this is just south of what is mostly a business district – near California/Brandon, the intersection that has West Seattle Nursery, OutWest Bar, a medical/financial building on the southeast corner…

    Comment by WSB — 10:14 am April 3, 2013 #

  14. Pod – I had the same thought! I’m so glad she’s OK, this is horrifying. Great way to warn other women though…

    Comment by Cait — 10:15 am April 3, 2013 #

  15. This is very aggravating and sad. I had a long conversation with a runner a couple weeks back when our runs intersected from Alki to Lincoln Park about her safety in the neighborhoods of West Seattle. The number of attacks and infrequency of any suspect getting caught is disturbing. There is no safe place and it’s difficult to find a running partner to do those early morning runs.

    Frankly, I’m really hoping the victim wasn’t her…that area would be part of her normal running routes.

    Comment by David — 10:17 am April 3, 2013 #

  16. I will be bringing my mace along on my run from now on. Thank you for the update!

    Comment by Emma Peel — 10:21 am April 3, 2013 #

  17. Yea! Let’s round up anyone we think might be perverts! Like men that work with small children, or that don’t dress like we approve of! Anyone with tattoos or weird hair! Yea! That will keep us safe. And we should abolish any rights that they have before we even know if they did anything, because people never lie!

    I am honestly upset that this happened to someone in our community. Rape is a powerful act performed by powerless people and should be punished, but you have got to be kidding me with the torch waving. That kind of mentality scares me *far* more than physical violence.

    Comment by Bizket — 10:21 am April 3, 2013 #

  18. Thanks for the heads up about creepers out early attacking women. As a solo early morning female runner, I’ve always felt pretty safe in West Seattle (even Sodo and downtown) so I do appreciate the warning and will be on the lookout going forward. I dislike running with my phone, but with the apparent increase in crime lately around here, I feel like I might just have to. Lame.

    Comment by CMP — 10:24 am April 3, 2013 #

  19. I’m so glad she wasn’t seriously injured physically. I am very saddened for her and what I can do to her mentally.

    Runner, I’m so sorry this happened to you and thank you so much for warning the rest of us who walk there every day. I personally walk it every morning around that time. Your warning could potentially save many women. My heart goes out to you and I’m sending you all of my happy thoughts.

    Comment by Lou — 10:25 am April 3, 2013 #

  20. WMF, thanks for the unnecessary sarcasm. I bet you’re one of those who thinks our justice system is working just fine and doesn’t need to change one bit. I’m not. I’m really sick and tired of reading and watching news, on almost a daily basis, where women are being attacked and the sick perverts are never found. I believe that in the presence of an ineffective system, it’s up to the people to defend themselves and take care of this scum. Being a man, I will probably never be attacked like this, but I know for sure, if something like this ever happens in my presence, the “sicko” will not get away.And I’m not condoning the use of violence against these degenerates, but we should do everything under our power to stop them and let them know that we are watching and will not allow this type of behavior in our neighborhood.

    Comment by QQman — 10:26 am April 3, 2013 #

  21. I’m so sorry this happened to her, and very glad she had chalk at hand to warn everyone. And of course, grateful for WS Blog. Stay safe everyone.

    Comment by Chris W. — 10:27 am April 3, 2013 #

  22. My crystal ball sees more cameras in the near future.
    Sarcasm aside perhaps some open running groups or even recommended times and info on a W Seattle runners/walkers web site so more people would just be out there on the same sidewalk around the same times looking out for each other.

    Comment by cj — 10:31 am April 3, 2013 #

  23. It was great of her to write this. I walk around this area all the time, not necessarily that early but still, by myself and have never had any problems. It’s scary to hear it happening so close to home.

    Comment by Renee — 10:33 am April 3, 2013 #

  24. Non-gratuitous plug for a sponsor: Our area’s one and only store catering to runners, West Seattle Runner, might be the place to get that going. Besides being a retailer, they have been very active in events for the running community. http://www.westseattlerunner.com – although I would imagine most area runners know about them already … TR

    Comment by WSB — 10:34 am April 3, 2013 #

  25. Thank you so much for warning us. So scary!

    Comment by your neighbor — 10:41 am April 3, 2013 #

  26. I’m amazed at how the bleeding hearts want to protect everyone, even the sick perverts who continue to harass all our neighbors. The type of attitude people like Bizket assume is exactly why these perverts keep doing what they do without considering the circumstances. “Oh no, we can’t punish them, because we become as bad as they do” Really? What do you suggest? Patting them in their heads and telling them they’re bad people hoping they will stop them from doing this. NO WAY! The only way to make our streets safe is putting them away, for a long time and letting them now this behavior will not be tolerated.
    Oh, and I’m not asking to start a witch hunt. I’m looking for better community involvement in order to actually catch these pervs. At least I’m looking at options to stop these crimes, instead of making fun of those who have real concerns about this issue.

    Comment by QQman — 10:42 am April 3, 2013 #

  27. I am so, so grateful to this woman for making the public announcement. I am a regular morning runner, and this incident occurred two blocks from my house. :-( Thank you from the bottom of my heart for publicizing this so that I can be more aware of safety. I am so grateful that the woman was unharmed, but I am so sad that she had this experience.

    Comment by Kristina — 10:46 am April 3, 2013 #

  28. QQ, if you’re not condoning violence, what’s the round up for? To give them scorn looks? If you think vigilantism works, I encourage you to me use the time machine you’ve invented.

    I never once indicated that our justice system works, but thanks for just assuming my character.

    Comment by WMF — 10:49 am April 3, 2013 #

  29. I don’t see how Bizket is advocating not punishing someone who commits a crime. But seriously, how do you tell that someone is a perv until they do something, well, pervy? The details of this incident are understandably very vague.
    .
    On the upside, assaults like these are very rare–much rarer than assault by someone the victim knows, for instance. Taking steps to warn others is great so residents in the area know to be alert.
    .
    “Starting a posse to round up all these perverts”? Geez, do you have any idea how many 5’9″ men who own hoodies there are in West Seattle? Good luck with that.

    Comment by datamuse — 10:55 am April 3, 2013 #

  30. Pro-civil rights=pro criminal is a great example of false equivalency.

    Comment by anti-obstruction — 11:00 am April 3, 2013 #

  31. Is there a place to buy mace here in West Seattle? My friend told me she knew someone that carried a stun gun in their purse for protection. If that is legal for us to do, where do we get them?
    Thanks.

    Comment by Faith4 — 11:02 am April 3, 2013 #

  32. A way to help catch these guys is to collect DNA. Sounds dangerous but I’m sure if I were fighting for my life and dignity I would wind up with some on my clothes or under my fingernails.

    Comment by newnative — 11:02 am April 3, 2013 #

  33. Carrying a can of wasp spray is equally good as mace and less expensive…..I have one at the door, in case of an intruder…..

    Comment by Vanessa — 11:08 am April 3, 2013 #

  34. I am female and jog regularly in West Seattle, only in daylight and never wearing headphones. These are common sense precautions every woman should follow.

    Comment by Junctionite — 11:11 am April 3, 2013 #

  35. Best to be aware, run w/ someone else, even if it is furry and runs on 4 legs. Sex offenders are very dangerous and generally these kinds of crimes escalate. Many times these guys are even married and look like anyone else. He needs to be caught. Look out for peeping toms and anyone “exposing” himself, those are all related activities. He probably lives in the neighborhood or used to live there and had a car parked nearby.

    Comment by WSeamom — 11:12 am April 3, 2013 #

  36. I ran this route this morning at 7am by myself…thanks for the warning. I will not be running by myself in the morning, even if it is light out now.

    Comment by JF — 11:17 am April 3, 2013 #

  37. QQ, what you suggested is to form a mob posse who exacts judgement and punishment without regard to the constitution. Sounds like a witchhunt to me. The only thing missing is someone saying this never would have happened if she had a gun strapped to her waist. I’m so over the vigilantes in this country.

    Comment by Jennifer — 11:21 am April 3, 2013 #

  38. QQman: Don’t you realize that your comment comes off as if you really do want to start a witch hunt?

    “Anyone ever thought of starting a posse and rounding up all these perverts? Then we could show them what a REAL good time is like.”

    I mean, come on man. That comment makes it sounds like you want to corral anyone who looks like a creep and beat them with sticks. Maybe next time be a bit more careful with your words and articulate what you want to do rather than relying on vague threats of vigilante justice.

    Comment by brian — 11:37 am April 3, 2013 #

  39. One suggestion might be to adopt a run-friendly dog from your local shelter (if you live somewhere you can have one, and have the time and love to give them). I see lots of joggers running with their trusty pups all the time, and I don’t think too many perverts would likely accost someone accompanied by their trusty guard dog.

    Comment by West Sea since '91 — 11:37 am April 3, 2013 #

  40. yes, let’s form a vigilante group – never mind jail, I have MUCH better things in store for this f**khead and others like him!!!!!

    Comment by libertygirl — 11:42 am April 3, 2013 #

  41. Recommend women in at least groups of two at that hour should have to but it looks necessary. I’ve walked this route not usually this hour feeling safe enough especially with others. But with more & more issues developing in term of violence it get harder to go alone & the need to wait for someone to walk with prudent.

    Comment by MiranaStNymph — 11:51 am April 3, 2013 #

  42. Thank you to the runner for announcing to the world what happened to her. I’m very familiar with that location….a usual route for me too. It’s very frightening. I’m thankful she’s safe and bold enough to make a statement about it. I’m sorry she was violated in order for the rest of us to be more aware and alert.

    This event makes me think that the perp was practicing and will only escalate his attempts in the future.

    WS is a great area to run, it is unfortunate these occurrences are increasing at all times of the day and women are targeted.

    Comment by morning runner too — 11:53 am April 3, 2013 #

  43. Ugh. So disgusted that the runner had to go through this. Thank you for the warning.

    Comment by biankat — 11:57 am April 3, 2013 #

  44. Pepper spray and other non lethal self defense weapons are available at most gun shops.
    .
    If you’re going to carry anything, please, please practice with it and know its limitations. I know several people who don’t react to pepper spray at all, for instance.

    Comment by datamuse — 12:00 pm April 3, 2013 #

  45. Who has tips on where to buy pepper spray or mace? Seems to me that this is a fantastic personal safety device for runners.

    Comment by justme — 12:01 pm April 3, 2013 #

  46. I live in pioneer square, and walk around all the time with mace in my hand…i dont conceal it in my purse or pocket. I want everybody to see my mace. That its ready to go at any time. I’ a small woman who has had enough crap happen to me while even riding my bicycle in the afternoon. Guess what? Since i’ve been doing that. NOBODY messes with me ever. I know the cops in my neighborhood, and theyre glad I do this. A good can of mace is $15….its your life, and its worth $15 right?

    Comment by x — 12:01 pm April 3, 2013 #

  47. You can buy mace at army and navy stores. I know there’s one downtown on 1st.ave close to bell st.

    Comment by x — 12:04 pm April 3, 2013 #

  48. My co-publisher believes Big 5 Sporting Goods in Westwood Village carries pepper spray etc.

    Comment by WSB — 12:10 pm April 3, 2013 #

  49. WSB, you are correct – I received MACE as a stocking stuffer this year from Big 5.

    I’m saddened that our community (and the world at large) has been reduced to having to take such measures. Being a woman in today’s culture is tough, man!

    Comment by Philosurfy — 12:18 pm April 3, 2013 #

  50. Here is the web link to Big 5 Sporting Goods for
    pepper spray:

    http://www.big5sportinggoods.com/category/13166/1/protection-spray.html

    Comment by Lisa — 12:19 pm April 3, 2013 #

  51. You’re right, Big 5 in Westwood does have it in stock. Several different kinds. I’m going there right now!

    Comment by justme — 12:21 pm April 3, 2013 #

  52. Truevalue used to carry pepper spray.Have not checked lately.

    Comment by Uhoh — 12:22 pm April 3, 2013 #

  53. OK . . . if you are keeping track, just for the heck of it . . . that’s 3 shootings & an assault in 3 days in the West Seattle area. What is going on around here? Its like the good weather brings out all the trouble makers! Urrrggggggggghhh! Not good at all!

    Comment by Noelle — 12:33 pm April 3, 2013 #

  54. Thanks everyone for the good info on where to get the spray. Just came to mind that there used to be self-defense classes on how to protect yourself & get out of situations if someone is trying to attack you. I wonder if there are any of these classes in West Seattle. She started screaming, which is really good. I think someone said to scream 911 as people are more apt to respond. There are other self-defense tactics that I am aware of from seeing programs in the past. Perhaps there is something on line we can watch to educate ourselves further?

    Comment by Faith4 — 12:41 pm April 3, 2013 #

  55. I understand the emotional desire to “round up the pervs” but I urge those that feel that way to share with the police their secret magical method for finding the person responsible for this terrible crime.

    Also, regarding Wasp Spray, just get some pepper spray. I would rather put my safety in the hands of products licensed and tested for personal safety that one some anonymous person posted on Facebook.

    Comment by DRS — 12:46 pm April 3, 2013 #

  56. “Is there a place to buy mace here in West Seattle? My friend told me she knew someone that carried a stun gun in their purse for protection. If that is legal for us to do, where do we get them?
    Thanks.”

    Faith, Outdoor Emporium on 4th Ave S near the stadium has a huge selection of Mace, including Mace for bears etc.

    Comment by themightyrabbit — 12:47 pm April 3, 2013 #

  57. This Sunday, Seattle Integrated Martial Arts is conducting a FREE women’s Self-Defense class! http://www.simamartialarts.com/womens-self-defense.html

    Comment by SIMA — 12:48 pm April 3, 2013 #

  58. Last summer I had a peeping Tom and Caught him twice looking into my windows. I called the cops nothing ever became of it. But the last time I caught him I pulled out my 12 gauge shot gun havent seen him again so far. I live about a block from where that attack happened, this neighborhood is really scary at night, no way would you catch me running when its dark alone and I’ve lived in the same spot for 8 years and have seen alot of messed up stuff on California right in front of my home.

    Comment by scsnopov — 12:54 pm April 3, 2013 #

  59. For anyone who wants to” round up these perverts”– seriously who are you going to round up?? If you’re talking about stepping in – in some way if you see someone being attacked- that’s one thing- but other than that – what are you suggesting?
    Totally understand the anger & frustration & disgust being voiced. Thanks to this runner for being brave enough to speak up so others will be warned– all good thoughts going her way!

    Comment by Anne — 12:57 pm April 3, 2013 #

  60. How awful. These kinda of attacks are really very frightening for the victim and the community. I thank you for writing it on the sidewalk. And thanks to WSB for posting it with a map. This incident makes me beyond angry.

    Comment by Heather — 1:00 pm April 3, 2013 #

  61. Brave woman, thank you for warning others.
    I hope this lowlife gets hit by karma, since he eluded capture today.

    Comment by BLB — 1:01 pm April 3, 2013 #

  62. Yup – I carry mace in my car and have it at the ready in case someone goes road rage on me. I also have one next to my bed. Got them at Outdoor Emporium on 4th. Although I was just at McClendon’s in Renton and saw a selection there. I’m sure the White Center store would have the same.

    Comment by biankat — 1:06 pm April 3, 2013 #

  63. Just a reminder, if you feel threatened and are near your vehicle, and you have an alarm system, hit the panic button on your keychain and set off your car alarm. This should scare them away and attract attention. Of course that won’t help a runner. So sorry this woman was victimized in her neighborhood, and a big thanks for the warning. Hope this creep is caught.

    Comment by Georgia Mom — 1:22 pm April 3, 2013 #

  64. Insights Training, a highly regarded self-defense training outfit on the Eastside, offers a 3-hour evening Pepper Spray seminar. Thorough but expensive ($90 per student). Next classes are 4/9 and 4/30, 5/21, 6/8, 7/16. Go to http://www.insightstraining.com. Class is taught at West Coast Armory, a pvt shooting range just off I-90 near Factoria.

    Comment by MJaros — 1:26 pm April 3, 2013 #

  65. Junctionite, thank you for bringing up the important point about not wearing headphones.

    Comment by RG — 1:37 pm April 3, 2013 #

  66. scsnopov , I LOVE that story!

    A can of mace and a good swift kick in the groin area does wonders. Two if he tries to get up before the police get there and a little bit more mace if tries the third time.

    What a creep. Imagine if she would have had a child with her??

    Comment by T Rex — 1:41 pm April 3, 2013 #

  67. I just had posted this for all my lady friends on Facebook, but this seems like a good place to share it as well in light of this story. The school I train at is offering a FREE women’s Self-Defense class! http://www.simamartialarts.com/womens-self-defense.html

    It’s a good place to start to get some tips on how to protect yourself in case of attack.

    Comment by westseattlemom — 1:52 pm April 3, 2013 #

  68. TEST YOUR PEPPER SPRAY every month! Outdoors, stand with the wind at your back and your arm held straight ahead with the can directed away from you, so it won’t get on you. Some brands don’t spray very forcefully, some brands “pepper” isn’t very strong, you don’t want a false sense of security carrying spray unless it will stun and stop an attacker or dog completely for a second so you can get away fast! If it’s too weak or you miss, it could get in your own face or make a dangerous attacker mad! Get the strongest concentration of capsacin you can buy, then PRACTICE!

    Comment by Savvy Runner — 1:53 pm April 3, 2013 #

  69. Runner – thank you. So sorry you faced this hideous trauma. The warning is so creative and brave and important. I’m holding good thoughts for you – and my dear friend Greggette Guy.

    Comment by arborheightsfriend — 2:05 pm April 3, 2013 #

  70. My sympathies to this woman, and glad that she was able to get away when she did.

    However, for those advocating that women should never go anywhere alone or should always be armed when they are – I’d like to point out that street assaults are extremely rare, and that most sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knows, in ‘safe’ places like their home. Injury-wise, it is more dangerous to ride in a car than to jog alone.

    Comment by Stephanie — 2:16 pm April 3, 2013 #

  71. Im like, 5-10, 5-11… does that mean i can still wear my hoodie and dark pants without being afraid of being beaten with sticks??

    Comment by DollarTreeNut — 2:35 pm April 3, 2013 #

  72. As I leave for work in the morning (6 am) I see many female runners. They are listening to their music and are in the “run” mode which I think reduces their awareness. They sometimes run in a crosswalk against a green light or do not hear the car behind them that almost turns into them. What happened was awful but please always be aware of your surroundings not only with your eyes but also with your ears.

    Comment by sc — 2:44 pm April 3, 2013 #

  73. Another good thing to have is a body alarm. Yep they make those. I want to say Big 5 may have those too. I (and I watch a lot of news so that may be why) have never felt safe to go out in the early am to walk (the dogs) or run by myself. There’s to many brushy bushes and stairwells for creepers to jump out of. I have a treadmill in the garage and even doing that in the early am alone gets me creeped out anymore. And that SUCKS because I LOVE waking up early and getting a good run in while the earth wakes up. This is MY home, MY neighborhood and I should be able to do that and not have any fear.

    Comment by bsmomma — 2:55 pm April 3, 2013 #

  74. Just a thought….instead of telling women to self-restrict their freedom, why don’t men volunteer to stay in doors during darkness. I’m just trying to point out there are multiple ways of looking at strategies.

    Comment by citizen — 3:21 pm April 3, 2013 #

  75. Short memories in WS. Doesn’t this sound like the same MO as that creep who attacked women in Lincoln Park about 3 years back? Anyone know if he just got out of jail, or group home, or wherever they put him? If it’s him, it sounds like he’s escalating.

    Anyway, after not logging on here for a couple of years (been away) it’s nice to know that nothing changes; you have to slog through all the same idiot posts to read anything substantive.

    Comment by Cheo — 3:23 pm April 3, 2013 #

  76. It was courageous and empowering for the victim to post a sidewalk warning to other women. This is typically a really safe neighborhood, but unfortunately these kinds of events are not extremely uncommon in a major metropolitan area. Now I know to be just a little extra vigilant when taking a walk.

    Citizen, if only the solution were that easy. I share your anger.

    Comment by evergreen — 3:32 pm April 3, 2013 #

  77. bsmomma – what is the body alarm you have?

    Comment by Faith4 — 3:32 pm April 3, 2013 #

  78. Cheo – Duane Starkenburg is still in prison, in eastern Washington. I already checked. (It’s been less than one year since he was sentenced to nine years, and even with time off for good behavior, it’ll be some time before he gets out. http://westseattleblog.com/2012/04/also-from-the-courthouse-9-years-for-child-molesterjogger-attacker-duane-starkenburg )

    Comment by WSB — 3:46 pm April 3, 2013 #

  79. I am in full support of the woman chalking that sign. It is a huge step in regaining her power after that scarey assault on her dignity and person. It brings up three things for me. 1. Same thing happened to me when I was in my twenties, walking down a nice residential street in SoCA; I was aware of my surroundings — guy truly came “out of no where.” Doesn’t mean I was in a “bad place,” or that I should never walk there again. But I still (40 years later) flash back on that and shudder. 2. What we do alone is ALWAYS better done with dogs along and almost NEVER better done when we are “armed.” We need to appear from a distance to be too complicated to assault. Plus dogs are just wonderful. 3. I wish that photo had not shown the realtor’s sign. I LOVE W.S. and location had nothing to do with this. I’d move into that house in a heartbeat and I haven’t even seen it. . .

    Comment by Margaret in Vashon — 3:52 pm April 3, 2013 #

  80. Yeah that running with headphones thing rubbed me the wrong way too. It’s the first in a cascading list of ways that the dialog around this subject, while well intentioned, can start making women feel like they are responsible for things like this which is ludicris. I’m sick of people saying that you shouldn’t wear headphones, have a pony tail, etc because it attracts this kind of attacker. There’s a line between being vigilant and restricting your freedom in the name of trying not to “make yourself a target” – that kind of culture around this thing needs to stop. Encouraging self defense however – hell yes!

    Comment by Cait — 4:19 pm April 3, 2013 #

  81. Do they make mace with DYE?

    A good blast of indelible ink all over his face?

    Does such a product exist? If not, shall we find a manufacturer.

    I am angered that my rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness are seriously eroded by the constant specter of rape.

    I favor lobotomies for convicted rapists, that’s shown to slow the down.

    Comment by Cheryl A — 4:20 pm April 3, 2013 #

  82. Cheryl A.: yes, they do. Usually red or orange. It’s great because while pepper spray/mace (often used interchangeably though they aren’t exactly the same thing) is not always as effective as it’s made out to be, it’s great to be able to tell the cops, “Yeah, it’s the guy with orange all over his face.”

    Comment by datamuse — 4:41 pm April 3, 2013 #

  83. Cigar Land in jefferson square carries pepper spray for about $8.

    Comment by breezygirl — 5:07 pm April 3, 2013 #

  84. Right Cheryl – or maybe a can of spray-paint. Tag the creep – sure would be tough to explain a lime green face to anyone…

    Comment by WS Taxpayer — 5:31 pm April 3, 2013 #

  85. you can get a small personal alarm that is very loud. you pull the pin and that triggers a very loud piercing noise. it’s something that can be done if your pushed down or tackled etc.

    they have ones that strap to your wrist. you can get them for under $10….search ebay for ‘personal alarm’.

    if you have mace and your taken from behind it’s likely not going to do any good.

    Comment by joel — 5:48 pm April 3, 2013 #

  86. Thank you for sharing and I’m so happy she is ok. Very scary.

    Comment by Runner in Kirkland — 5:50 pm April 3, 2013 #

  87. Shout out to the runner! You are one kick ass sister! Thank you being strong and wanting to protect others! Every woman in WS is thinking good thoughts towards you!

    Comment by Rocky raccoon — 5:52 pm April 3, 2013 #

  88. Guys – I’ve received a thoughtful e-mail from somebody making a point that some of the vigilantism sentiments expressed, while understandable, are veering into potentially dangerous territory if anyone truly carried them out. Fear and anger is understandable. Self-defense is good. Vigilantism is scary. Please use buddy systems, Block Watches, share knowledge in other ways. I am on the run and don’t have time to list all the resources here but will later.
    .
    Added:
    .
    We got another call from the runner late this afternoon. She is still shaken but doing OK. She appreciates the warm words regarding her taking the trouble to write the warning. She has not heard anything new from police regarding arrest or a possible suspect.
    .
    I do want to remind people in context – while this is scary and we’ve had some other scary things lately, West Seattle **is not overrun with crime**. Last week, things were so quiet, we went days without any Crime Watch news (and I wish we’d have more of those days). Overall, the rate of violent crime here is low. Even one crime is too much, but you are not in danger every time you walk out your door. We haven’t had a murder in more than a year. I hope that this time next year we’ll be saying “we haven’t had one in two years.” And three, and four, and five. Please be aware but don’t be afraid.
    .
    To get a Block Watch started, we are reminded, you can find all the info on the SPD website:
    .
    http://www.seattle.gov/police/blockwatch/default.htm

    Comment by WSB — 5:57 pm April 3, 2013 #

  89. Should I rethink moving to this area?

    Comment by orangeyaglad — 6:04 pm April 3, 2013 #

  90. As a 42 year old male, I am rarely concerned for my safety; I can take care of myself. However I have also run the California/Fauntleroy circuit at 5:00AM and have been weirded out each time. Yeah, it is a safe neighborhood, but dbags can be anywhere.

    Comment by CandrewB — 6:05 pm April 3, 2013 #

  91. I would recommend carrying whatever you are comfortable with whether its a gun, tazer or pepper spray. You can also learn how to fight with a blade. If you use headphones use one earphone and always maintain situational awareness. The body alarm and organized running groups is also a good idea.

    Comment by Former Drill Sergeant — 6:32 pm April 3, 2013 #

  92. I want to thank everyone for their thoughtful comments, messages of support and for helping spread the word about this incident to our neighbors here in West Seattle. I wrote the chalk message because of all the wonderful runners, dog walkers and bus riders I share California Avenue with during my daily runs. You value moving safely in your community as much as I, and need to be aware of this threat. Plus…I was/am furious.

    It’s important for your safety to know that I was aware, present and focused on my surroundings at the time. I was not wearing headphones. I did not see, hear, smell or sense this guy in any way. He was concealed and stealthy, and I was taken completely by surprise. He had a plan, and it worked.

    There have been some fantastic suggestions in the comments above about reasonable measures to stop an attack or to build competencies in deterring an attack in the first place. I encourage each of you to take precautions, and enjoy your daily run or walk. I hope to see you out there….

    Comment by Thank You — 6:35 pm April 3, 2013 #

  93. Thank YOU, thank you. We will all be more vigilant out there on our morning runs. I say we all follow your lead and if ANYONE sees/experiences suspicious activity, write about it on the sidewalk. They will be caught if we all work together.

    Comment by KeepRunning — 7:01 pm April 3, 2013 #

  94. Much props to you for thinking of the community. I love the chalk idea & reading the police report plus seeing the chalk writing really put it into reality that this could happen to anyone! Thank you for your courage! Be safe out there!

    Comment by Pamela — 7:39 pm April 3, 2013 #

  95. My first thought when I saw the note on the sidewalk this morning was what a brave and thoughtful person this is to think of others in the community. I am so glad she is okay.

    Comment by another neighbor — 7:54 pm April 3, 2013 #

  96. Thank you for trying to alert your neighbors as to what happened, and I’m so glad that you weren’t traumatized more than you were. Wishing and praying for balance in this community (and beyond, of course).

    Comment by RhodaHarley — 8:16 pm April 3, 2013 #

  97. Random business idea: Creeper App
    .
    Basically, it allows you to put comments at certain locations on a a map, sort of like virtually chalking the sidewalk, to warn people of any weirdness in the area.
    .
    Then, people can check their planned running/walking route and get a sense of what people have written about the area so they are forewarned on what to look for.
    .
    Added bonus, push notification when a new entry is made on a route or area you mark as your usual zone.
    .
    That’ll be $150 for my hourly consultation fee. Please mention me in the credits when you become a millionaire, thanks!

    Comment by D.C. — 8:22 pm April 3, 2013 #

  98. This is horrible. Thank you for passing on the information. I am so glad she got away.

    I carry a knife and pepper spray, it makes me feel safer. My sister found “The Zap Light” it is a flashlight/ stun gun in one. If you google it you can watch the video. It has a million volts! That will knock them out and give you enough time to run and get help. Cabella’s sells it for $65.00. You can also buy it online. If you want something now, a few mini marts on Delridge have tasers for $30-$35

    Be safe and run in pairs or at least have a way to protect yourself.

    Comment by Sarah — 8:41 pm April 3, 2013 #

  99. I FEEL FOR THIS GAL, BUT I THINK IT’S PRETTY SCARY FOR MALE OR FEMALE TO BE RUNNING THAT EARLY, WHEN IT’S PRETTY DARK, STILL. THESE THINGS SHOULDN’T HAPPEN TO US, BUT THEY DO, IN THIS WORLD TODAY. IT WOULD BE BETTER ALWAYS TO RUN IN A GROUP, OR WITH SOMEONE ELSE, EVEN A DOG. HOPE SHE IS ABLE TO PUT THIS BEHIND HER, AND MOVE ON AT SOME TIME. I THINK IT WAS EMPOWERING FOR HER TO WRITE THE MESSAGE ON THE SIDEWALK.

    Comment by MARCIA — 9:21 pm April 3, 2013 #

  100. This victim blaming and fear mongering has got to stop. Let’s change the world so sexual assault and rape culture will end. The answer is not for women to cover up or be scared. The answer is that we as a society do more, collectively, to say this is never ok.

    Comment by JRR — 10:08 pm April 3, 2013 #

  101. Just asked my step daughter, she purchased the body alarm(s) on e-bay..senior prank

    Comment by Bsmomma — 10:11 pm April 3, 2013 #

  102. The creeper app could include registered sex offenders “residence”. That’s actually a pretty good idea!

    Comment by Bsmomma — 10:13 pm April 3, 2013 #

  103. I second the West Seattle Runner suggestion.. They’ve done so much for our running community way beyond their role as a merchandiser, they’ve connected people for evening runs and more. I’m sure they would be very open to hooking up some early morning runners via word of mouth or at the very least on their bulletin board. I’m fortunate to have a dog and a running partner for my early morning runs, but when I first moved here pre-WSRunner, I didn’t have anyone to run with for years and had no idea how to find one and morning was my only opportunity for a run.

    Thank you runner for the warning, good news to ehar you got away safe. we also run right by here as well and it is a “safer” route than the ones we take through quieter / darker / less traffic /bus rider neighborhoods. I know we all run at different paces and schedules really have to work just right so hooking up with a running partner isn’t so easy but it is good to see others out in the morning, hopefully we can all figure something out.

    Comment by Keri — 10:22 pm April 3, 2013 #

  104. My boyfriend and I were driving to alki to go for a run when he told me about this incident. Obviously, I was upset and we talked about how awful it was.

    We were running on the water side of the bike trail, towards the beach from Marination, just turning the corner where the “flower house” is when a man on a bike swerved behind us, hit my butt with his hand, road on the grass until getting back on the bike trail. Although my boyfriend tried to run after him yelling, he never caught up.

    Once we hit the beach, we tried to look for him. As an FYI, I wanted to let everyone know, especially in light of this citation. When we got to the beach, we tried to look for him, but did not see him.

    Best description, although general: White male, brown/short/curly hair, gray flannel shirt, gray shorts, white bike. Time: 7:20

    Thank you to the runner for bringing this to our attention. I know to be more aware now.

    Comment by WSer — 10:38 pm April 3, 2013 #

  105. Dear Thank You: YOU. ARE. AWESOME. I hope you are okay and not too shaken up and that there are no lasting effects from this! Thank you so much for writing that message! This is my neighborhood and I frequently walk around at night, sometimes alone. It’s very creepy. There are so many dark corners and bushes, blind spots, etc. I think the buddy system is great, and being vigilant is good too.

    And this is a different area, but I also skate and used to suit up at the semi-circle, down at the beginning of the Alki trail at Harbor Ave. I stopped doing that recently because it feels very deserted and there are lots of hedges, etc. with absolutely no visibility. There are often lots of creepy guys around, who appear to be casing out the path. I trust my gut. Be wise, be aware, be safe!!

    Comment by i'mcoveredinbees — 10:53 pm April 3, 2013 #

  106. I recommend checking with the owner of Mirror Image Studios, the business that is very close by where the attack took place. He may have security footage that can assist in an arrest.

    Comment by j pagano — 11:12 pm April 3, 2013 #

  107. I live a block from here. Thanks heavens for that courageous woman taking action to warn everyone. I’m not afraid, but now I’m good and mad. I took a Home Alone defense class and review my class notes regularly. God help the pervert who makes the mistake of targeting me – I know how to seriously damage someone and will not hesitate to do so if attacked. However, I’m adding pepper spray with indelible ink to my defense arsenal now. What a great idea! Pretty sure that someone would notice his new make-up and turn him in, even if I don’t get to break some bones and teeth along the way.

    Comment by Scooterista — 11:21 pm April 3, 2013 #

  108. Oh my gosh, I was down there at that time too! WSer, I’m sorry that happened to you. :(

    Comment by Cait — 11:27 pm April 3, 2013 #

  109. Meanwhile, for those who are sick of the “helpful” suggestions which are really just more ways in which people fall into the trap of blaming victims for having the temerity to make the mistake of being female in public, check out the #safetytipsforladies on twitter and buzzfeed.

    Comment by Scooterista — 11:29 pm April 3, 2013 #

  110. @Thank You What a beautiful note. I’m glad we are neighbors.

    Comment by Chris W — 11:40 pm April 3, 2013 #

  111. I was stretching after a run at the south end of Lincoln Park this morning, with my dog, and was startled to have a truck drive by down there and just keep going. The driver, white male, ponytail, stared at me and I stared back, but kinda got the willies. There was no one around for a few minutes and I did wonder what his purpose was, since I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to approach from the north in a non-parks dept. vehicle. Too many weirdos out there for sure, so vigilance is key. Also, scream “fire” instead of just “help”, since that should both startle and garner quick attention.

    Comment by WSChick — 12:27 am April 4, 2013 #

  112. OMG! I drove by there yesterday and today about that time! This morning I saw the channel 4 news people there reporting the attack! I’m racking my brain to think if I saw anyone at that time!

    What a horrible experience!

    Comment by ME — 5:44 am April 4, 2013 #

  113. Comment to WSer: another woman must have also had same happen to her last evening, but she did come upon him (fits exact description). I saw her challenge him–he was sitting at bench at the end of Alki. She was (rightly) furious. I and another group stopped. The guy said sorry, wouldn’t do it again, and took off—he seemed loaded. One guy in the group called the police, we took picture of the guy–the woman didn’t have her phone, nor did she stick around once the creep had taken off (which he did quickly once we called and took picture). We waited a really long time for police to show up and told officer what happened. Officer said she’d keep an eye out. If this or something similar happens whether you have phone or not someone passing by will or will help. We need to stick together.
    Lastly, thanks to the runner who chalked the sidewalk–brilliant response! But so sorry this happened to you

    Comment by Carraig na Splinkeen — 6:31 am April 4, 2013 #

  114. “Thank you” so sorry this happened to you. I am enraged as well. Women have just as much right to feel safe out there running or walking as men whether at 5:20 or high noon. Blaming the victim for this in any way is not the answer. No woman deserves to be harassed (and yes, that includes catcalls, whistling and the like), swatted on the butt, or grabbed in such a disgusting manner as this runner was. I am pretty sure most women have been harassed (or worse) simply for being female and daring to walk down the street. It is unacceptable and we need to teach boys that this behavior is unacceptable from a young age (as I plan to do with my son). Obviously, this will not solve the problem when it comes to perverts like the creep who did this, but our society needs to do better. Women deserve better. Enough is enough.

    Comment by kayo — 7:31 am April 4, 2013 #

  115. Just a heads up, I called police at about 6am today to report a suspicious, old blue (Chevy?) minivan on Fauntleroy just west of the intersection of California. The minivan followed slowly behind me along the curb, across the street from me and my dog for about a minute until I turned around, made clear that I was watching and took a picture of the minivan with my phone. The person rolled the driver’s side window up and turned off the headlights, but did not drive away. It was too dark for me to get the license or see inside the minivan. I called police and saw a cruiser headed to that area as I made my way home. I may just be hyper-alert and a bit paranoid after yesterday’s incident, but I wanted to make everyone aware of this minivan given the time of day and the odd behavior.

    Comment by Bark — 8:23 am April 4, 2013 #

  116. WSB, not to diminish these terrible attacks, but I think your point that crime is *not* on the rise in WS deserves way more focus. It’s easy for people to get really disheartened reading stories like this, especially when there’s a cluster of items in a short period of time. I have a friend who lives in Delridge who’s already talking about moving away because of the recent shootings. I’ve tried to point out that Seattle in general, and WS in particular, are actually pretty safe places to live and work and walk around in, but it’s easy to go into panic mode when the odd event happens in your neighborhood.

    I moved here from a relatively decent area in Wallingford, and we had WAY more problems with crime and vandalism and gun violence over there (knock on wood).

    I totally think WSB does us all a service by pointing these events out, but I wish the non-crime, positive articles and posts had as much of an impact.

    Comment by JP — 8:41 am April 4, 2013 #

  117. WSChick – Colman Pool has a resident operator who is not a Parks employee. Not to say for sure that’s who you saw, but just FYI.

    Comment by WSB — 8:42 am April 4, 2013 #

  118. So sad to hear of this news yesterday! I am a local WS fitness trainer and my workout groups are generally outside most days at 5am. We were just up a few blocks on Cali at the time of this attack. As a runner myself, I know that there are some especially scary dark spots along California Ave. Running & working out is always better in a group setting during the early dark hours…If you’re ever looking to workout with a group of special women at 5am, we’d love to have you join us!
    ~Shelly

    Comment by Shelly @ WS BodyWorks — 9:32 am April 4, 2013 #

  119. I run along Fauntleroy towards Alaska on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:20am. I will keep my eyes open, but will also offer a partnership for other joggers in the morning. Groups are always better for safety.

    Comment by Dustin — 9:43 am April 4, 2013 #

  120. FYI, wasp spray vs pepper spray
    http://www.hoax-slayer.com/wasp-spray-substitue-pepper-spray.shtml

    remember, if you are in a position to use these things, the aggresser is in a highten state and they may not have any effect.

    We have bus stops why not have “Run Stops” (public and well light) were a runner would know that there would be other runners ready to leave at say 6am and can leave in a group.
    Run safe,

    Comment by patt — 9:48 am April 4, 2013 #

  121. In the past with groups like Home Alive, it was brought to our attention how many UNREPORTED crimes against women there were.
    Maybe the number of reports now show an upswing in % of reporting rather an increase in crime.

    Comment by patt — 10:01 am April 4, 2013 #

  122. Patt, I think that goes for crimes in general. Police implore us, constantly, to reiterate that they want and need to hear about everything. Even if, for example, your car is obviously prowled but nothing is taken – let them know. Especially now that they are using Predictive Policing (which we are seeing mentioned in police reports), which is only as good as the incoming data about what’s actually happening … And the same goes for the fact we report crime here almost daily (some days, really, there’s nothing to report! and that’s great!). Knowledge is power. Please feel empowered rather than frightened. That was even what the attacked woman in this case did, really – showing she wasn’t just going to slink away and cower; she wanted to make sure everybody knew. That’s what folks who share crime reports here are doing … writing in virtual chalk to let their neighbors know. Otherwise, even listening to the scanner and checking police reports, we don’t hear about everything. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 10:15 am April 4, 2013 #

  123. @Thank You – You sound like an extremely smart, courageous, and compassionate woman. I hope you recover from this assault as quickly as possible. And the thanks truly goes to you (and the WSB) for speaking up and spreading the word. Take care.

    Comment by Carolyn Graye — 10:39 am April 4, 2013 #

  124. Question– Does anyone know if a body alarm would stop a dog? I’ve been running (year-round) at 5:30AM for 14 years in the Admiral/Belvidere/Alki areas, and never once have I felt threated or been made uncomfortable by a person, but have been charged by a dog. This incident (thanks for all the helpful tips!) makes me think I might need to invest in pepper spray or a body alarm (who knew?!), and since it’s pooches I’m more concerned with, would like to go the route that could stop a 4-legged attacker as well.

    @Thank you– So very sorry for the horrible experience you endured. Many, many good thoughts for your recovery from this!

    All you WS runners– Please don’t let this stop the early morning runs! So many great people are out there, running, walking dogs, catching the bus. The more of us that are out there, the better! Especially us gals!

    Comment by JW — 12:44 pm April 4, 2013 #

  125. I am just so proud of this woman for sharing this to everyone and not being quiet about it. I would LOVE to see some kind of walking support group protest started where people walk around West Seattle to show that we WILL NOT tolerate violence against women in our community. I this woman is a West Seattle Warriorr Goddess I am sending her so much love.

    Comment by Alora Sky — 12:49 pm April 4, 2013 #

  126. Any chance the guy that hit Wser is the same one that was exposing himself by the whale park?

    Comment by QQman — 1:01 pm April 4, 2013 #

  127. QQ, I’d lost track of him – Jesse Drugger, aka Drugge or Trulson, per the original court docs in October 2011 – but just looked up the info really fast. He’s still in King County Jail, has been for a year and a half. I have been working on a “whatever happened to” update on several court cases and will include his. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 1:21 pm April 4, 2013 #

  128. For those that asked about pepper spray, we carry it here at West Seattle Runner. We also have group runs Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sundays. Call us for more details. 938-0545

    Comment by West Seattle Runner — 2:14 pm April 4, 2013 #

  129. This is discouraging. I hope they catch this guy soon. I prefer running alone and I do run in the mornings. I do not run with headphones and I run past houses as much possible, rather than by forested areas or brushy areas. If I see a car with its engine running and no one else about I cross the street. However, I am going to add some type of protection device to my arsenal – my arsenal also includes “instinct” though alone, that is obviously not enough.

    Comment by Karen Sykes — 3:01 pm April 4, 2013 #

  130. Last week I reported being attacked by a dog while running on 30th and Cloverdale at 6pm and reported it to the WSB to let them know other runners should be aware, since the owner of the dog denied that I was bit. I realize it not the same as being attacked by another person, and I’m not comparing it, but find it interesting they didn’t report it. I guess they are selective on what news they report, and they probably will delete my post, since it is a blog…

    Comment by patrick — 9:53 pm April 5, 2013 #

  131. Like all news organizations, what gets published here depends on resources for publishing and verifying, what else is happening, and a variety of factors. I should have referred you to the Forum, where you could have posted your warning immediately, but I failed to; I tend to be the bottleneck sometimes. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 10:19 pm April 5, 2013 #

  132. Great posts and suggestions…I always wear a very, very loud “Storm Whistle” on a break away Lanyard around my neck…first sign of trouble, I blast that whistle…hecka scares anyone away. I also carry a camera on a belt so photos can be taken of anyone who bugs me…I am a female cyclist and live in Oakland, Ca…. I totally discourage earphones…because you really need your ears to detect what’s going on around you…a lovely college student who was jogging in Presidio would still be alive if she had heard a car coming her way on an early dark morning…but she had those ubiquitous earphones on….and was unaware…Rock on and stay safe!

    Comment by Mary Ann Blackiwell — 9:06 am April 9, 2013 #

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