South Bay trail runner attacked, coughed on describes moments that led to violent confrontation

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- In video shared with ABC7 News, viewers can hear deliberate coughs and audible contact, stemming from Saturday's violent confrontation on Communications Hill in San Jose.

The six-second video shows a small part of the trail attack, recorded by the victim.

On Wednesday, the victim shared her story. She spoke anonymously with ABC7 News.

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The woman admitted she could've chosen better words to communicate after she felt she was being taunted by a teen running right beside her.

"I yell out, 'Watch your distance! Stay six feet away! Do you not understand what's happening right now?' And he mouthed, 'What are you going to do?' and started laughing, and looked at me," she said. "And I was like, okay ***hole. So, I did say that."

She said the teen then took off.

He returned minutes later with a group of people, including the man at the center of the attack.

"That's when he grabbed his beanie off his head, started to spit on me. Coughed on me multiple times," she explained. "I had my phone. This happened for a good minute and I only caught about six seconds of it on camera."

The victim shared the video and her story on the Nextdoor neighborhood app. Since she posted Sunday, her story was shared across several neighborhood Facebook groups and Reddit.

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"I'd actually applaud her," a neighbor named Mike told ABC7 news.

Other residents agree that crowds on Communications Hill can be an issue.

"A lot of people just don't take this serious," Mike said. "And to me, that's how it's spread."

Mike said he can recall a few times he should've spoken up for his own safety, but encourages others to do so.

"The social distance, 6-feet, 12-feet, whatever it needs to be- it's a safety precaution in my opinion," he added. "So, when you're working out or at the store or whatever it may be, it's important to help be part of the solution and not the problem."

Saturday's victim hasn't stopped using the trail.

On Wednesday, she found herself in another heated exchange over a request for six feet.

Video shared with ABC7 News shows a woman telling the victim, "6-feet, estupida," as she continued to walk the trail.

The victim said they had already passed each other several times before the recorded encounter.

"She looped around as I looped around, and I saw them again," she said. "And I caught them. She started flipping me off and I caught her on film and picture and video."

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Still, nothing compared to Saturday's confrontation.

The victim identified one of the teens captured on camera, as the teen who initiated contact.

She added, "I'll recover from it. I'm okay. I'm not suffering from it, but your children are seeing how you behave and that's the most important thing right now."

"It's really sad that during this time, this is how people are acting," the victim told ABC7 News. "We're all going through things. I don't know what you're going through, they don't know what I'm going through, and so we all just need to take a step back."

The victim explained, "If I could rewind back, maybe I actually would not have said something because it led me to this. But then at the same time, I'm glad I did because it is bringing more awareness to the situation."

The victim says she would apologize for calling the teen an expletive, but said even that doesn't warrant an attack.

ABC7 News spoke with many others who declined on-camera interviews. Most added they've never had an issue with social distancing on Communications Hill.

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