TAMPA (FOX 13) - Police said Thursday they were "actively investigating" a woman's report that she was assaulted by a man as she was jogging near a park in South Tampa early Tuesday.
It was just after 6 a.m. when the woman, who asked to remain unnamed for her safety, stopped near Burns Park along South Howard Avenue to let her dog take a break. That's when she was hit in the head by an unidentified man.
She said he jumped on her back and whispered in her ear, "don't fight back. Just lay down."
But she didn't lay down. Instead, she hit him in the groin with her fist until he ran off. That's when she was able to call for help.
"I never got to see his face, and lucky for me, he did not get to see my face, and I consider that luck right now... I don't want him knowing who I am. I don't want him having a second chance. I want him captured. I want him behind bars," the victim told FOX 13 News.
Tampa police offered limited details on Wednesday, when word of the attack was spreading on social media, but they released more details about the suspect Thursday.
"This investigation is still active and police officers are patrolling the area in an attempt to locate the unidentified suspect," a police spokesperson wrote Thursday afternoon.
The suspect was described as a white male in his 20s, around 5-foot-9, between 150 and 160 pounds, with dark curly hair. He was last seen wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and "athletic-type" gym shorts, and no shoes.
Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay is offering a reward of up to $3,000 for information leading to an arrest.
In the meantime, police offered these safety tips for joggers:
- Trust your gut. Avoid dark, wooded places and areas where you feel uncomfortable
- When possible, exercise with a partner for added safety (and motivation)
- Be aware of your surroundings
- Carry a cell phone in the event you need assistance
- Wear reflective material at night and carry a whistle or noisemaker