DAVIS (CBS13) — Police in Davis are urging residents to be on alert after a woman reported an attempted sexual assault along a bike path over the weekend.
The woman says she was walking along the Putah Creek bike path near El Pescador Court on Sunday when an unknown man walked up to her from behind. He then put his arms around her neck and pulled her to the ground, telling her not to scream because he was armed with a gun.
After pleading with the suspect to let go, the man eventually released the victim. He then reportedly told the woman he never had a gun.
Michelle McKim’s house backs up to the bike path where the attack happened.
“It’s concerning the greenbelts are away from public view. It’s definitely concerning to have something like that happen in your backyard,” said McKim. “The greenbelt that runs throughout the city is very well-traveled at all hours by pedestrians, dog walkers, cyclists, we have heard commotion all hours of the night.”
Davis Police say attacks like these are rare for the city.
“This is especially true in light of COVID-19 with this on-going crisis that these incidents are quite rare,” Lt. Art Camacho said.
Camacho said it is important to remain vigilant, especially with fewer people around the college town due to COVID-19 precautions and UC Davis classes largely operating online.
“The smaller amount of population density. They (bike paths) are somewhat abandoned or lonely and so we are just asking the public, and I’m not saying that anybody did anything wrong in this case, but just to take universal precautions,” said Camacho.
The suspect was last seen leaving near the 1600 block of Drew Circle. Andre Sanchez lives in the area and uses the bike path almost every day.
“I was surprised. This super nice neighborhood so I hope this is just an outlier event,” he said. “I’m worried about my wife and friends and family that live around here, so of course we worry about their safety.”
Investigators say the man appeared to be about 35-40 years old with large jaw muscles, a mole on the right cheek and an eyebrow with a clearly visible vertical cut. He was originally wearing a black face mask but took it off during the attack.
Those who live in the area said they plan to be more aware of their surroundings.
“I’ll travel with a buddy personally. I wouldn’t stop walking and I would encourage everyone to enjoy it but just travel with a friend,” said Shalom Miller.
Police also say he spoke with a strong Spanish accent and smelled like body odor and cigarettes. Anyone with information relevant to the case is urged to call investigators at (530) 747-5400.