Police need help finding suspect in Walnut Creek trail attack

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KGO) -- Police need your help identifying a man who attacked a woman on a popular trail near Broadway Plaza in Walnut Creek.

Investigators want to talk to the man captured on a surveillance photo. He may be the person who attacked and attempted to sexually assault her around 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

"She was pushed to the ground and dragged a short distance from the trail," said Lt. David Phulps of the East Bay Regional Park District Police.

It happened along the Iron Horse Trail in Walnut Creek near the WholeFoods at Newell Avenue and South Broadway.

The area is dark and has bushes but the main trail is lighted. People say they are surprised the attack happened there.

"We walk this stretch of trail all the time, so that's quite upsetting and you don't often hear about things like that around here," said Walnut Creek resident Brent Wincze.

Police say the man tried to kiss the woman and made threats during the attack.

"The intent was clear from the investigation that it was sexual assault motivated," said Phulps.

For some reason, the suspect stopped then ran North on Broadway. The woman suffered scrapes and bruises.

"We have actually done this trail many times during lunchtime and it seems just fine and safe," said Oakley resident Nancy McFarland. "We don't think twice about walking it at lunchtime."

Police want people to think twice about walking the trail alone.

"If the individual had the audacity to do this tonight or last night, there is no doubt he will do it again," Phulps added.

Police describe the suspected attacker as a black male adult of thin build between the ages of 30-40 years old, with a black beard/unshaven, approximately 5'9, wearing a black beanie, black zip-up sweatshirt, white t-shirt, dark jeans, and brown shoes with white tips.

If you recognize the man in the surveillance photos in the player above, please contact East Bay Regional Park District Police at (510) 881-1121.
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