KIRKLAND, Wash. - Tuesday night, a 20-year-old Kirkland woman says she was followed and harassed by a man while walking her dog in a park; she didn’t know what to do so reached out to the community via social media and the support came rushing in.
Carinna Lee says she usually walks her dogs at night at Peter Kirk Park in Kirkland. She says this past Tuesday was anything but usual.
“I didn’t think that would ever happen to me, until it happens to you,” she said.
Lee says she was alone in the park around 10 at night. She says a man began acting erratic, cursing at her and her dogs.
“I was really scared,” said Lee. “The knots in your stomach when you know something is not right,” she added about her emotions during the confrontation.
The man eventually left, but he says a few minutes later he started following her.
“I’m pulling the dogs away trying to get away from him and he says you’re not going to let me pet your dogs,” said Lee.
Lee says she got away from the man without getting hurt, but it still terrified her.
“I was sitting there upset, shaking, crying a little bit,” she said.
Lee says in that moment she did not know what to do.
“I don’t know if I should call the cops because he didn’t necessarily do anything to me,” she said.
Lee posted her story onto a Kirkland community group on Facebook. The support immediately started coming in.
One person offered to pick Lee up from the park, others posted information about self-defense classes in the area. Lee says there was one message that kept repeating.
“They were like call the cops; call the cops; call the cops,” she said.
Lee eventually did call Kirkland police.
Officials with the police department say that is what you should always do if you feel unsafe. Kirkland Police officials say they will be the ones to determine if your situation is an emergency or not.
Lee says she will not let this incident stop her from living her life. She says she'll be back at the park, but next time with more than just her dogs in hand.
“I went on Amazon last night and bought pepper spray,” she said.