A 69-year-old man in Chattanooga, Tenn., told police that he was raped while out on a run early on Monday morning.
Police responded to West Mississippi Ave around 7:30 a.m. on Monday. WRCBTV reports that a more accurate location of the incident will not be released.
Authorities are currently looking for a black male with a short black afro. The suspect is around 5’8”—5’9” and around 180-200 pounds.
“We are confirming today it was a sexual assault,” said Chattanooga Police Asst. Chief Dave Roddy.
“This happened in our city, this happened in our community to one of our citizens,” Roddy said. “We want all community members to raise their awareness, adhere to some of the safety protocols we’ve asked them to adhere to.”
In the aftermath of the incident, Chattanooga Police emailed a news release in which they called the attack an assault and gave people safety tips to use while running. Amongst these tips were suggestions that people never run alone, do not use headphones, and run with a cell phone at all times.
One runner commented that knowing that the attack was a sexual assault—not just an unspecified assault—gave her more reasons to follow the safety tips provided.
Jennifer Hampton of Chattanooga said that she “might consider having something on me to protect myself.”
“Assault is more general and you’re not sure, how severe was the assault, you’re not really sure of the details but rape definitely is severe,” Hampton said.
Police said that there have been no other rapes or assaults in the area of West Mississippi Ave and that they believe this to be an isolated incident.
Police declined to say whether the suspect was armed at the attack.