Ald. leads community walk in Sauganash after attacks

September 5, 2013 (CHICAGO)

Instead of being fearful, a Northwest Side alderwoman organized a community march to show solidarity and strength in numbers.

"We're standing together. We're coming together and walking as a community or running as a community to make sure that we're saying enough is enough and you're not going to scare us away," Eileen, walker, said.

Last Thursday an off-duty female police officer was attacked on the Sauganash trail while on an afternoon jog. Days earlier, a similar attempted sexual assault happened three miles away on the North Branch Trail. Coincidentally the target was another off-duty female officer. Both women were able to fight off their attacker who grabbed them while he was on a bike.

"We're not gonna let the bad guys take over, alright. So this is the message that we're sending today," Ald. Margaret Laurino, 49th Ward, said. Ald. Laurino led the take back the trail walk.

Police are still searching for the suspect, and released a sketch of the attacker. He's described as a Hispanic male with a light complexion, 22 to 26 years old, 5'7" with short black hair.

"Besides the police, we've brought out the Chicago Park District, which maintains the trail for us, just to look at tweaking some issues out here, maybe trimming some of the trees [and] possibly looking at some security cameras," Ald. Laurino said.

Women in the Northwest Side community say they're scared but fighting back.

"The day that this happened I was frightened. I second-guessed letting my kids ride their bikes to and from camp this summer. I don't want to feel that way," walker L.A. Genyk said.

"You're not just gonna come in here and jump anybody or rob our houses because we are on alert in this neighborhood," Mariann Djidich said.

Police encourage women to walk in pairs and keep an eye out for the suspect.

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