Tampa Police are actively investigating an aggravated battery that took place near Bern's Park, located at West Hills Avenue and South Howard Ave.
On Tuesday, May 10 at 6:10 a.m. a woman running with her dog said she stopped at the park to let her dog go to the bathroom and was attacked by a man with a crescent wrench.
We are not naming that woman because the suspect is still out there and is too afraid to show her face but wants the story out there so police can catch him.
“The next thing I know I’m being struck in the back of the head and then tackled, like bear hug tackled. The moment he hit me I grabbed on to the crescent wrench, because I didn’t want him to hit me anymore if that was his intention,” she said.
The whole ordeal happened in a matter of seconds in what’s known as a popular and safe place.
The wrench cutting her head wide open. She showed us pictures of her injuries including a scrap on her knee. Now staples are holding her head shut.
“As he is tackling me he is telling me, over my right shoulder, not to fight back, just to lay down. He said, ‘don’t you fight back, don’t you fight back.’," the victim said.
The woman said the attacker reeked of alcohol. Soon after he tackled her to the ground she said her adrenaline kicks in.
“I was thinking I was pretty much done for and the next minute I said, I’m not done. I’m not going to do it. This is not how this is going to go. I was holding on to the crescent wrench as he had me in a bear hug and finally I got him off to my right hand shoulder and took my arm and slung it in between his legs,” she said.
The attacker let her go and ran off south on Howard Ave. Police say it's unclear what the suspect’s motive was.
The only description the victim got of the man matches surveillance video from a nearby business before the attack.
The man in his early 20’s is seen in the video wearing a dark sweatshirt, light gym shorts and no shoes but you can’t see his face. A concern for many who frequently visit the busy park, walk, or run in the area.
“I know you have to be aware and that's just the way it is these days but its upsets me, makes me angry,” said park goer Laura Gallo.
“I could have died. I could have gotten raped. It could be different for somebody else so I want this person stopped. I want him off the streets,” said the victim.
While in most cases you would think a dog would protect its owner, this victim says her dog sat on the sidewalk and waited. From now on she says she will run with a stun gun and plans to take self defense classes.
Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay is offering a reward of up to $3,000 for information that leads to the identification and arrest of this suspect. Anyone with any information regarding this case and who wants to be eligible for a cash reward is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS (8477)
Police say the suspect is a white man in his 20's. 5'9" tall, weighing between 150 and 160 lbs., with short dark curly hair. He was last seen wearing a black hooded sweat shirt and athletic type gym shorts but was not wearing any shoes.