Story Summary

Women attacked in north Seattle

At least four women were attacked between Feb. 8 and Feb. 12 in north Seattle. It was not immediatly known if the attacks were connected, but some of the victims’ descriptions of the suspect were similar. All of the women were walking alone when they were attacked.

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classSEATTLE — At MKG Martial Arts in Northgate an otherwise quiet Sunday is anything but.

Self-defense is the focus, as men and women alike try to learn a skill they hope they will never have to use.

“You just need to keep going, even if you find yourself in a dangerous situation, and you would have to use self-defense skills. You just have that attitude that you’re not going to give up.  You’re not going to quit,” self-defense student Susan Siverson said.

Siverson and a lot of women like her are concerned about an unidentified suspect who has been prowling North Seattle. Police believe the suspect, pictured above, is responsible for at least two attacks, including a rape near Northgate Mall and an attempted rape at Greenlake. The man could also be responsible for other, nearby attacks in recent weeks.

With a suspect still at large, MKG offered this emergency training session, free of charge, and it was open to men and women of all ages. The training teaches people how to be more confident, more aware of their surroundings and more physically capable of defending themselves.

“You just never know what kind of a situation you might find yourself in and it’s probably going to be unexpected,” Siverson said.

Owner Andy Wilson calls Sunday’s class part of his civic responsibility.

“It’s very important that we and other martial arts’ schools and other people with self-defense training try to educate as many people as possible,” Wilson said.

Siverson will recommend all women take a class like the one she took.

“Absolutely because it does just boost your confidence and it gives you some basic skills that anybody could do,” Siverson said.

MKG is offering a two day seminar at the end of April as well. The goal is to get as many people as possible trained in self-defense. Police are asking anyone with information on the suspected Northgate attacker to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS.

residentsSEATTLE — While tips on the alleged serial abductor are pouring in across Seattle, some have decided to take their protection into their own hands.

Mac McGregor is one of the highest-ranking martial arts instructors in the world. Every Sunday at Velocity Dance Center, McGregor teaches interested participants — both men and women — how to make themselves a hard target for criminals on the prowl.

He said people the most common problem is individuals are often not of their surroundings.

“People doing this all the time and not paying attention so if someone’s sneaking up behind them, they wouldn’t even know,” McGregor said.

Attacks like those in North Seattle serve as a reminder that everyone should be prepared for the worst, McGregor said. It’s important to make eye contact with strangers, and to show a little attitude. Be bold and confident, he said, even in the face of danger.

“So if I come at you and I come out of the bushes and grab you, what do you tell people to do? Go ahead and grab me because what I want to do is hold on to you for balance and kick your knee or shin and let my foot slide down your shin,” he said.

Class attendee Katrenia Clark, an Everett resident, said the recent attacks against both women and children have her worried. She lives near Everett High School, a site of a recent attempted abduction. She brought her 17-year-old daughter to the class to learn self-defense.

“We live three blocks from the possible Everett High School abduction,” Clark said.

Local News
02/16/13

Community raises awareness in wake of attacks

AttacksSEATTLE — It’s been more than a week since a woman was attacked and sexually assaulted on a trail near a popular shopping mall, the first in a rash of attacks on women in north Seattle police are hoping to solve.

The first of the four attacks happened near Northgate Mall on February 8th when a woman said a man pulled her off a trail and sexually assaulted her.

A day later, another woman said a man driving a white van tried to abduct her while walking in the Greenwood neighborhood. She was able to fight off the attacker.

The two most recent attacks happened near Green Lake — a popular place for runners, walkers and cyclists.

Lindsey Gates went for her evening jog around Green Lake Saturday, something she now does with a friend in response to the attacks.

“To be honest it’s a little creepy,” Gates said. “Especially if you have music in, you can’t really hear anything and I feel like that’s the last thing I want to worry about when I’m trying to exercise.”

The only strong lead police have is a sketch of the man suspected in the sexual assault near Northgate Mall.

Now the north Seattle community is getting help from two local crime fighters.

Armed with perseverance and flyers about these attacks, Purple Reign and Phoenix Jones are patrolling the neighborhood.

“We just wanted to get them out into the community’s hand,” Purple Reign said. “We want people to come and take these flyers and put them in their own neighborhood, just to raise more awareness about what’s going on, keep people on alert.”

Neighbors appreciate the effort.

“I think it’s helpful that flyers are out otherwise people wouldn’t know who to look for,” a concerned resident said.

Others just want their favorite park back.

“[Green Lake Park] is supposed to be a family park, not where crazy people like this do mean things,” another resident exclaimed.

Cops and caped crusaders have something in common; they both want to get the attacker off the streets before he can hurt anyone else.

“Wherever this guy is I hope he goes into hiding or gets caught or turns himself in,” said Jones. “I find sexual predators to be disgusting filth of the earth.”

perron

Eric Perron

By Kate Burgess

Q13 FOX News reporter

SEATTLE — A Seattle bicyclist on Wednesday described how he helped scare away a man who was attacking a female jogger at Green Lake early Monday.

In an interview, Eric Perron said he was bicycling along a path on his way to work Monday morning when he heard a woman “screaming and yelling a lot of profane words.”

He said he saw that a woman was struggling to get away from a man, who appeared to be trying to pull the jogger off the trail toward some bushes.

“She was fighting back,” Perron said. “She was a healthy, fit runner and she was giving him a fight. I yelled, ‘Hey!’ Just trying to scare him, letting him know that someone else was there.”

It was Perron’s scream that helped save the woman. She was among four women attacked by a man in four days, but police don’t know if her attacker is the same one who grabbed other women in other areas of north Seattle.

Perron’s yell scared the attacker away, and Perron said his first thought was to go after the man, but he stopped to make sure the woman was OK.

“She told me that he came up behind her, jumped on her and was attacking her,” Perron said. “So I turned back and I could just see him going up the street, so I took off on my bike to try to chase after him, went up and he was rounding another street corner. I went around the corner and I couldn’t see him anymore.”

Police have put out a sketch of the suspect, hoping someone will recognize the man. Perron didn’t get a look at the guy’s face, just the back of his black hooded sweatshirt as he ran away.

“He could have had a gun; he could have had a knife. People have asked me, ‘Were you afraid?’ And that thought did not cross my mind; my thought was he could do this to someone else, that could have been my sister, my girlfriend. And I want him stopped.”

And while police follow up on leads, Perron wishes he could have done more.

“I wish I could have caught him,” he said.

guySEATTLE — The Seattle Police Department released a sketch of a man suspected of sexually assaulting a woman at knifepoint Friday evening near Northgate, and have also assigned extra officers to patrols after a series of weekend attacks on woman have north Seattle neighborhoods on high alert.

The sketch released is of the Northgate attacker, the first of several attacks under investigation by the SPD. The Northgate attack suspect pictured in the sketch is a white man, 20 to 30 years old, between 5-foot-7 and 6-foot, 140 to 160 pounds, with short brown hair, sunken light blue eyes, a tattoo under his left forearm with a gravelly voice.

“Certainly I think it’s terrible and I would hate to think that in a city like Seattle you wouldn’t be able to walk somewhere without fearing that something like that would happen,” neighbor Kitty Harmon said.

There’s been a total of four attacks on women in four days in north Seattle.

Along with the Northgate attack, a woman was accosted shortly before 8 p.m. on Feb. 10 in a Greenwood neighborhood. She was was grabbed by a man who tried to force her into a white van with the letters “X-Y-F” painted in red on the side of the van. The woman was able to break free.

In the morning of Feb. 11, a woman jogging around Green Lake had to fight off an attacker who tried to pull her into the bushes.

In the latest reported incident, Seattle police said a woman she was followed on the street and tackled to the ground by an unknown man  in the 4700 block of Thackeray Avenue NE in north Seattle at about 1:20 a.m. Monday. She was able to scream, punch and kick the suspect, who then ran away.

Although the sketch was developed with only the help of the Northgate victim, police say they can’t rule out the possibility that this man could be responsible for three of the four attacks because the other two victims’ descriptions are very similar.

“In all of these case,s the women were walking in the dark so the suspect had a couple of advantages. He used the cover of darkness and then also these women were isolated which means they were alone,” Spokesperson Renee Witt said.

The fourth attack happened Sunday evening in Greenwood, but the suspect’s description was different.

A lot of women we talked to say they just learned of the attacks.

“I was shocked and I called our nanny and told her to be very careful today when she was out and about with the children,” neighbor Ashley Pedersen said.

SPD has increased patrols in the area including, tactical units and swat members all over the north precinct.

They have even moved other personnel to the north precinct from other parts of the city.

“It’s very concerning and it’s just sad reminds you to just always take precautions and keep your doors locked even when stories like this aren’t happening.  It’s just a good reminder to take precautions,” Pedersen went on to say.

Anyone with information about these cases should call 911.

kubotan

This is a Kubotan for a key chain, a handheld, pointed self-defense weapon that can be held while walking.

By Kate Burgess

Q13 FOX News reporter

SEATTLE — As police investigate the attacks on four women in four days in north Seattle, women should consider some tips to prevent becoming a target themselves.

Walking with confidence, making eye contact, and avoiding secluded spots can help keep you safe. But there’s a lot to think about before you step outside.

Personal safety experts say even wearing a hood makes one more vulnerable.

Donna Angevine, a personal safety consultant,  said, “Criminals are opportunistic. They will take the best, softest, easiest opportunity they can to take advantage of somebody.”

In rainy Seattle, jacket hoods make women “soft targets.” Walking with heads down, women can’t always see what’s on either side of them. Angevine said it’s important to be aware of what’s happening around you. Phones, tablets, and iPods can be a dangerous distraction.

“We’ve become this society of multitaskers, so we want to be texting while we’re running and walking, we want to be listening to music and podcasts and learning a new language while we’re out and about,” Angevine said. “Our first priority has to be our safety; also being aware of your surroundings.”

Because whether you know it or not, someone could be watching you

“They look for people who are distracted, they look for people who have the appearance of being weak, they look for people who look like they’re lacking in self-confidence,” Angevine said. “They want someone who’s not going to fight back.”

If you are attacked, Angevine said, running should be your first instinct — putting as much distance as possible between yourself and the other person. And if they do get too close, always be ready with tools of the trade. Don’t leave the house without a flashlight; use it to light up your path or to temporarily blind an attacker.

Or, as Angevine said, put a Kubotan on your key chain — a handheld, pointed self-defense weapon to hold while walking.

“You need to listen, you need to watch, you even need to smell,” she said.

Trust your instincts, have a plan, and always be prepared.

“You have to be willing to fight to the death if it comes down to the point that you are attacked,” Angevine said. “You need to be of that mindset that I’m going to be the one who perseveres.”

Seattle police have a few other tips to keep you safe:

– Try not to carry a big purse with everything in it, just keep what you need. So if you’re heading to the grocery store, only take your debit card, not your whole wallet.

– Plan your route and avoid shortcuts

– Don’t travel alone. Walk with a friend or take a cab.

And if you are attacked and someone with weapon demands money, police say to just give it to them. Your life is more important.

attacksSEATTLE — Detectives are hoping a bicyclist who helped stop an early morning attack on a woman at Green Lake Monday will come forward and help police identify the assault suspect.

According to the Seattle Police Department, a female jogger was running through Green Lake Park when a man ran up behind her and tackled her to the ground near East Greenlake Drive and Meridian Avenue. A male on his bike saw the attack and helped scare away the suspect. He then chased after the attacker before returning to Green Lake Park to check on the jogger. The jogger said she was OK and the cyclist left the scene.

The attack was the third attempted sexual assault in three days in north Seattle. Police are unsure if the attacks are connected, but have reported that some of the victims report similar characteristics in the suspects.

Police believe the bicyclist could provide a good description of the assault suspect. He is encouraged to contact detectives in the Sexual Assault Unit at (206) 684-5575.

greenlakeSEATTLE — Police are currently unsure if four attacks on women in the last four days are independent or related incidents, Seattle police spokeswoman Renee Witt said Tuesday.

Witt said that “we have not ruled that three of the four may be related, but (we) can’t say for certain.”

In each of the incidents the women were walking alone before they were attacked. Police are trying to work out what connections — if any — can be made in the cases.

On Feb. 8 at 7 p.m., a woman walking home from Northgate Mall was pulled into a weeded area and sexually assaulted by an unknown man.

Shortly before 8 p.m. on Feb. 10, a woman in the Greenwood neighborhood was grabbed by a man who tried to force her into a white van with the letters “X-Y-F” painted in red on the side of the van. The woman was able to break free.

In the morning on Feb. 11, a woman jogging around Green Lake had to fight off an attacker who tried to pull her into the bushes.

In the lastest reported incident, Seattle police said a woman she was followed on the street and tackled to the ground by an unknown man  in the 4700 block of Thackeray Avenue NE in north Seattle at about 1:20 a.m. Monday. She was able to scream, punch and kick the suspect, who then ran away.

In each of the three cases, the women described different suspects.

“We’re not putting this information out to make people paranoid. We just want people to be informed and we want people to be well prepared when they’re going out. Especially at night,” Seattle police spokeswoman Renee Witt said.

Women who were exercising near Green Lake were surprised to hear about the Monday attack..

Collene Lynch frequently walks around the Green Lake Trail with friends. “We are concerned because this is sort of like our safe place. This is where we all come to rejuvenate ourselves,” she said.

When Lynch isn’t out with friends, she makes sure to tell people where she is going.

“It’s a matter of courtesy to those you love,” Lynch said. “You let people know where you’re going and here’s how you can reach me.”

Police said walkers and runners who use iPods or similar devices should remove one earphone and stay aware.

“When you’re walking whether it’s during the day or at night, don’t go into automatic pilot. Make sure you are aware of your surroundings,” Witt said.

Officers also want to remind people there is safety in numbers.

“It doesn’t guarantee your safety ever but I feel like it’s important for any of us to kind of pay attention,”  a jogger said.

Seattle Police also have safety tips posted for the public that can be viewed here.

greenlakeSEATTLE — A man attacked a woman jogging around Green Lake and tried to pull her into the bushes early Monday morning, Seattle police reported.

The woman was running around the outer jogging path at 6:20 a.m. when an unknown man grabbed her near Wallingford Avenue North and Green Lake Drive North and tried to pull her into the bushes. Police said the woman was able to fight off the attacker and run northbound.

According to police, a bicyclist in the area saw the suspect running and attempted to follow him, the the bicyclist lost sight and gave up chase.

The woman called 911, but police said there was an unfortunate 15-minute delay from the time of the attack to when it was reported. Officers contacted the victim but were not able to locate the suspect. The victim was shaken up, but declined medical attention.

The suspect is described as a white male in his 20s, 5’7″ to 5’8″ tall with a medium build and short brown hair. He was wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt and jacket with dark pants. Anyone with information on the attack is asked to call 911.

This is the second reported attempted abduction in North Seattle in 24 hours. Late Sunday night, a woman was reportedly attacked in the 85000 block of Fremont Avenue North by a man wearing a dark mask and driving a white van. Luckily, she also escaped after being thrown into his van.

It is unknown if the attacks were related.

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