A Lindsey Wilson College student was assaulted in a church park near campus Friday night and police are warning others to follow safety precautions, especially after dark.
Columbia City Police responded to the Columbia Christian Church park near North Reed Street around 7:32 p.m. where they discovered a 20-year-old female who had been assaulted.
The woman, who is a LWC student, told police she at stopped in the park to sit near the town creek when an unknown white male grabbed her from behind. He threw dirt and debris in her eyese and tried to drag her toward a wooded area.
The woman struggled and was able to strike the male several times with her hands and feet. She broke free to call for help and the male fled on foot back into the wooded area.
The woman suffered abrasions to her legs, hands and her forehead.
She was not able to give a thorough description of the assailant because it was dark and because he threw dirt in her eyes, but the man is believed to be a white male in his mid to late 30s with blond or white hair.
Officers canvassed the area for evidence and are conducting interviews with residents in the area to determine if anyone saw anything unusual. CPD Officers Drew Conn and Jordan Dean are investigating the case.
LWC campus security sent an email to students, faculty and staff, notifying them of the incident and encouraging them to follow several safety precautions.
Columbia Police offer safety tips for walking, especially at night:
1. Stay in well lit areas.
2. Stick to neighborhoods and parks you are familiar with.
3. Don’t walk alone. Find a walking partner if possible.
4. Make sure your cell phone is charged (if you can, dial 911 in an event something happens. Even if you drop your phone or are unable to speak clearly to a dispatcher, on most occasions they can ping your location and direct an officer to your vicinity.)
5. Carry personal protection like pepper spray or any option you feel comfortable with. Just be trained in the safe handling and operation of your choice. Also make sure they are in compliance with state and local laws.
6. Be aware of your surroundings. Remember that wearing headphones and talking on the phone reduces your awareness of what’s around you.
7. Make sure you tell someone of your travel routes, destinations and time to expect your return.
8. Walk with your head up, not looking at the ground. Carry yourself with confidence.
9. If you feel someone is following you or watching you, change your route and head toward the closest populated area.
10. Trust your instincts. If you see something that isn’t quite right don’t take chances. Call for help or change your plans.
LWC Public Safety offers on-campus escorts by calling 270-384-8106.
Anyone with information about the assault is encouraged to contact 911 and request to talk with a city police officer.