|Updated: 2/16/2012 9:11 pm
||Published: 2/16/2012 10:51 am
Tulsa police say a man raped a woman at LaFortune Park on Thursday morning.
Police say the 19-year old was jogging at the park near 51st and Yale between 6:00 and 6:30 a.m. She told police the man tried to start a conversation with her and she ignored him. She told police he chased her down and raped her. She also told police he seemed to be highly intoxicated.
A police spokesman told FOX23 there are not a lot of rapes by strangers reported in Tulsa, they are worried this suspect could escalate or be a serial rapist.
Other park-goers Thursday were concerned about the attack.
"Not so much less safe, but more cautious," Jeni Knox said. "I always have an eye on both my kids, and usually my husband's with me. But it does make you stop and think about being here alone."
Knox says LaFortune Park has always felt like such a safe and secure place, but not anymore.
"It's very sad," she said. "Sad situation."
"Really, it's sick," Shawn Hensley said. "It's unfortunate that you can't come to a place like this and just jog."
As a grown man, Hensley doesn't worry so much for his own safety, but he does worry about his wife coming to the park without him.
"Not alone, no," he said. "I think there's safety in numbers, obviously."
Police always warn people to be aware of their surroundings, especially when they're alone. But the victim in Thursday's attack was aware of her attacker, and tried to stay away from him. So, Thursday police suggested joggers should take extra precautions.
"Maybe carry some pepper spray or something that with you, some form of personal security that you can utilize if an individual decides that they're going to attack you," Officer Leland Ashley of the Tulsa Police Department said.
"I think it's sad that a situation would call for that, that we would have to resort to that kind of protection to feel safe," Hensley said. "It's just not right."
The attack wasn't enough to keep joggers out of the park on a beautiful Thursday afternoon, but both Knox and Hensley say after dark they plan to stay indoors with their families.
"It's horrible, it really is," Knox said. "And it definitely does worry me, especially having children."
I hope that they catch this person quickly, before this happens to somebody else," Hensley said.
Police are searching for the suspect. He’s described as a clean-shaven African-American man, 25-30 years old. He was wearing a black beanie and black clothes with a tan or brown jacket. Anyone with information that could help police is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 918-596-COPS.