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'She did a fantastic job in fighting him': Tyler police describe attack at Rose Rudman Park

Tyler police are searching for a man who attacked a female runner Thursday night in Rose Rudman Park.
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TYLER, Texas — The Tyler Police Department is investigating an attempted assault in Rose Rudman Park.

RELATED: Good Samaritan recounts encounter with woman attacked in Rose Rudman Park

According to Tyler police, a female runner was attacked by a man on the middle trail south of the Banks at around 7:30 p.m., on Thursday. 

“After running by him, all of a sudden she heard someone running behind her," Don Martin of the Tyler Police Department said. "So she turned around and then, he basically was right on top of her at that time.”

Police say the subject was armed with a knife at the time of the attack.

"He basically grabbed her, and then forced her off into a wood-thick area off the trial about 10-20 yards with the knife at her throat," Martin said. "Basically, he was attempting to sexually assault her.”

However, the woman continued to resist the attacker and eventually fought him off. She escaped with only minor cuts.

“She did a fantastic job in fighting him off and bringing attention to herself by screaming and everything, especially when he had a knife at her," Martin said. "More than likely the suspect, realizing that this was not going to the way that he had planned and the fact that she was screaming for her life, bringing attention to herself hoping that someone else was going to hear that she was in trouble, he basically said 'I’m going to get out of here.'"

Another runner assisted the woman in calling 911. 

"She came back out into the trail, again looking for someone to help her," Martin said. "Thankfully, there was another female in the area and she called the police and got us down there.” 

The man left the area and has not been captured. 

Police say the attacker is described as a black man in his 30s, who stood about 6'0'' and had a medium build. Police say the man had a scruffy face.

"He was wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt with dark pants or dark sweatpants, and that’s kind of all we have," Martin said. "This may have not been the first day that this suspect was down there. He may have been down there looking for that right opportunity."  

Tyler police say the subject took the victim's cell phone during the attack and threw it into a wooded area. Police were able to llocate the phone and are using it to recovered fingerprints.

Police are also going to area businesses to check if the subject is on surveillance video.

"We’re asking anyone who might have video down in the merchant areas or even residents to check their videos," Martin said. "See if anyone matches that description that came into the store to maybe buy something or just lurk around."

If you have any information, you are urged to call the TPD at (903) 531-1000.

Police urge runners, particularly females, to be vigilant when running alone and try to run in at least pairs at all times. 

"When you’re out by yourself, especially in that area that’s isolated in the woods, you’re kind of putting yourself in a vulnerable situation," Martin said. "And have something to also help protect you, whether it be a little can of mace or something that you can hold in your hand for protection. Sometimes we say, ‘Hey throw a whistle around your neck, stick it down your shirt.’ That way you can blow it as loud as you can and it’ll pierce their ears and not only that, that sound is going to carry that someone may be in trouble.”