As of Tuesday evening, San Antonio police have yet to make an arrest in a sexual assault case at a very popular park. Investigators say that the crime happened around 8:30 a.m. at Phil Hardberger Park on Tuesday, leaving many people shocked and concerned.
The park is heavily wooded and it’s not uncommon to see deer or other wildlife. According to the San Antonio Police Department, the woman that was attacked heard a noise but thought it was simply an animal. However, authorities say that shortly after the woman heard that noise, she was attacked by someone.
“Oh my gosh, it’s terrible. It’s scary because I come here all the time,” Bernice Munoz said.
“I usually feel pretty safe in this park so it was surprising,” Catherine Handgen said.
Both Munoz and Handgen are avid runners who can always be found at Phil Hardberger Park, hitting the same trails where police say that Tuesday’s assault happened.
“She did struggle with the individual and that’s probably what prevented it from getting worse from what already took place, which was bad enough,” said Sgt. James Lint with SAPD.
Authorities are now reminding people to be vigilant, especially when alone.
“You just have to be aware of what’s around you. If you lose sight of that, you lose perspective of who’s around you and who you should be watching for,” Sgt. Lint said.
Police recommend that you try running when it’s well lit, going with a buddy and avoid using headphones.
“I might probably start telling people when I’m going for a run, so that way if something happens and I disappear, they say, ‘Oh yeah, she went for a run at that park,’” Handgen said.
Of course, one of the big reasons people love Hardberger Park is because of the beauty. But since there are some secluded spots along the trails, District 8 councilman Manny Pelaez believes that those spots could be posing a hidden danger for people.
“That’s a conversation I’m going to be having with our city manager and chief of police tomorrow, about what measures we can take to make sure those secluded nature trails are safer,” Councilman Pelaez said about the park in his district. “Today is a reminder that seclusion is what those bad people are looking for.”
Police also recommend carrying pepper spray with you, if you feel comfortable using it. SAPD will also have an increased presence at the park over the next few weeks.