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UPDATED: Woman Assaulted While Running in Newton

The woman was reportedly assaulted as she was running along a pathway near Commonwealth Avenue and Walnut Street.

Updated 5:30 p.m. with video from the press conference.

Updated 1 p.m. with information from the press conference.

A Brighton woman who was attacked while running on Walnut Street this morning is urging other women to consider safety before heading out on their jogging routes. 

"I think it's important for people to know to be careful," the woman said this morning. "Let people know you're running, know the rules, know your area."

The 31-year-old woman, who is not being identified by name, choked back tears at a press conference this morning at Newton Police Headquarters. The woman recounted the events of the early-morning assault, which happened near the intersection of Commonwealth Avenue and Walnut Street.

The incident occurred around 5:15 a.m. Tuesday when a man lunged at the woman while she was running, causing her to fall to the ground. After she fell, the woman said the suspect hovered on top of her and kept repeating "shhhh."

During the attack, the woman said her instinct was just to scream.

"I knew he was going to try to make me shut up and I just kept screaming," she said. 

The woman said she was not injured during the incident and she had no physical contact with the suspect.

The suspect was described as a black male, 6' tall wearing a black jacket, jeans and a baseball hat with a star on it. Once the woman started screaming, he fled west down Bulloughs Park, police said. 

After the man fled, the woman said she ran down Commonwealth Avenue and stopped the first car she saw and used the driver's cell phone to call Newton Police. 

According to Lt. Bruce Apotheker, police have gone back through incident reports from the past three years and not found evidence of any assaults in that area. 

"Newton is a safe city...we've been [ranked] as the safest city in America on a number of occasions," Apotheker said. "These type of incidents can happen anywhere, even in the safest cities in America."

Apotheker said detectives will continue to investigate the possibility that a dark colored coupe was involved with the incident. According to the victim, the car passed her several times on her route prior to the assault. 

"It's unusual for her to see the same vehicle. Was it someone delivering papers? We don't know. We don't try to assume anything until we have more information backing it up," Apotheker said.

After looking through past reports, Apotheker said police did notice an incident reported on Dec. 5 near the intersection of Commonwealth Avenue and Grove Street where a female runner reported a while male had jumped out of a car and looked as though he was going to grab her. That woman ran away without any physical contact or words spoken, Apotheker said. 

Both Apotheker and the victim told runners to make sure they are aware of their surroundings while running alone, including turning down the volume on Mp3 players they may be using. 

The woman also recommended running with a buddy if possible, and to let roommates or friends know when you plan to run alone. 

Telling her story, she said, will hopefully bring awareness to other young females in the area. 

"I run near Boston College...there are a bunch of 18-year-old girls out there running too," the woman said. "This is something they need to be aware of."

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Story posted earlier:

A 30-year-old female was reportedly assaulted Tuesday around 5:15 a.m. as she was running along a path near Commonwealth Avenue and Walnut Street, said.

The victim told police a man lunged at her while she was running, causing her to fall to the ground. After she fell, the woman said the suspect hovered on top of her and kept repeating "shhhh," police reports said.

The suspect was described as a black male, 6' tall wearing a black jacket, jeans and a baseball hat with a star on it.

Police said the victim was able to scream, which caused the suspect to run away. He reportedly fled west down Commonwealth Avenue.

At that point, the victim was able to flag someone down to call the police. Police said this morning the victim was not injured during the incident. 

Multiple police units canvassed the area with negative results.

The victim told police she remembered seeing a dark colored coupe drive by her three times while she was running. However, police said it is unknown at this point whether the vehicle was involved with the incident. 

Anyone with any information is urged to contact Newton Police at 617-796-2100 or use the anonymous TIPS line at 617-796-2121. 

A press conference will be held later this morning at Newton Police Headquarters. Stay tuned to Patch for details. 

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