Police investigating Debs Park assault

Police are investigating the assault of a Highland Park woman as she walked through Debs Park early Sunday morning.

The victim, a 38-year-old hairdresser , said she was grabbed, punched and forced to the ground by a man holding a knife during the assault that took place at about 6:30 a.m. while she walked on a trail with her dog. The man, who she had seen jogging earlier after parking her car near the Audubon Center at Debs Park, then ran off for unknown reasons. “I look up and he runs off,” said the woman who called 911 and later asked for assistance from two men on Avenue 52.

“I’m of course freaking out and in shock,” said the woman, who had been walking three to five times a week in Debs Park for the past year. “ I’ve never had a problem at Debs Park or any trail.”

Detective David Meza with the LAPD’s Hollenbeck Division said he is investigating the crime, and the department is working on a composite drawing of the suspect. But “we have very little to go on,” he said. No similar attacks have been reported recently in Debs Park or the surrounding neighborhoods, he said. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact Meza via email at [email protected]

The woman described the suspect as a male Latino in his early 20s to early 30s. He was about 5’8-5’10 tall and 140-170 pounds.

“I want the community to know about this so it does not happen again,” said the woman. “If the parking gates of Debs Park are closed that means the park is closed. As a woman, do not go up there alone.”

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  1. goddamnit. another fucking low life ruins what was a great location to jog and hike.

  2. I wonder if this is a recurrence of the rapist who was active there a few years ago?

  3. Please post the composite sketch if available.

  4. wow! so scary, thanks for posting, I won’t be hiking there alone anymore.

  5. This is not an isolated incedent and Hollenbeck division does have records of other attacks. I was attacked by someone who matches this discription in Debs Park closer to Hermon Park in January on a Sunday at 3:30 in the afternoon and filed a report with Hollenbeck division. There was no knife but I was grabbed and assaulted while I was jogging and then the man biked off (he had a bike). This is a vague desciption provided, but my assailant matches the vague description. I no longer jog in Debs park because I don’t perceive it as safe. Ladies be advised.

    • Wait, the guy who attacked you also matches the descriotion Latino in his early 20s to early 30s. He was about 5’8-5’10 tall and 140-170 pounds? They should canvas all of HP. Shouldnt be more than a thousand guys matching that description

      • A lot of people match that description, but one of them is attacking women in Debs Park. It is useful information to hear that this is not an isolated incident. Either it is the same guy, or there is more than one guy matching that description committing this type of crime. Either way, LAPD should step up their investigation.

        The article said that “no similar attacks have been reported recently in Debs Park”, and the commenter was pointing out that this is not true.

        • Not only is the physical description matching but the behavior – I similarly passed the man before he assaulted me. And similarly he ran off for no apparent reason once I started yelling and pushing him away. From my experience, my assault was someone who was testing boundaries- he was excited by the fear he caused. So it would not surprise me if it were the same person who is escalating their behavior. That’s not a professional assessment, but either way, when I reported my assault, nothing was done and similarly LAPD said “no other incidents”. So now at least we know that is not true and that they SHOULD be doing something to step up safety in Debs Park. I will be in contact with LAPD to look at their composite. They of course never made one of my attacker.

        • I was the victiim of last weeks assault. It took the cops 45 minutes minutes to show up after I called 911!! “We don’t have much to go on” pisses me off because the cops took there time responding!!! Not to mention the horrible experience of dealing with the LAPD afterwards. No one calls you back! After a few days of horrible anxiety I just had to go down there. If I hadn’t gone== I’d still b a pice of paper on a desk!

          • Yikes!

            The incident sounded terrifying — and the police response sounds awful. This is how LAPD responds to a serious assault?!

          • The police response is a shame. You deserved better treatment. I am avoiding the park all together after the recent murders. Have you been in touch with any of the other victims?

      • @UseUrHead Very insensitive to be rude to a woman stating she was attacked. There are nicer ways to say what you said. You need to show some empathy.

  6. Jacqueline Dreager

    My writing coach wrote a book about women protecting themselves. Beauty Bites Beast. I suggest every woman, and man, buy a copy. She’s just come out with a new book for kids…..The Safety Godmothers. Check it out. I too am afraid to walk in Debs. Never was this way 30 years ago!

  7. When was the last time you saw a warning to men not to hike, jog, or simply walk their neighborhood by themselves?

  8. Sounds suspiciously similar to the guy who was attacking women in Griffith Park not that long ago…. I’ll bet it’s the same guy. Scary. Stay safe ladies. A lot of these parks have bad cell reception so if you are in trouble a cell phone might not help. Carry pepper spray!

  9. Lately there has been an influx of homeless people sleeping and living in Debs. A lot more folks with drug problems. I have noticed a change lately and feel the need to always be with at least one other person when hiking there. There’s lots of folks hiking Debs around 5:00/6:00 in the evening. Better to be there when there are more people around.

  10. So my prediction came true, the utter uselessness of the city council members Cedillo and Huizar, the complete lack of initiative by mayor Garcetti ( he knows about the vagrant/homeless population in Debs it was brought up to him on KPFK) he side stepped the question by saying we have to support homeless vets.
    Garcetti’s inaction as mayor is tentamount to culpability for the dangerous environment that exist there now.
    I predicted something would happen if the vagrants are left to live in our tax funded parks, now it has , should we give them flowers and sing church hymnals with them? Provide them with understanding?
    Now I’m waiting for it to get worse , Christ there is a grade school in the park.
    Garcetti is a useless weak and feeble leader.

  11. The description and behavior closely match that of the guy who assaulted two women in Griffith Park earlier this year. He also had a bike. In two incidents, he groped one woman near Dante’s View and severely beat another women at the bottom of Fern Dell. It really sounds like the same person. I doubt it’s a homeless person, this guy has a consistent MO. After the Griffith Park attacks, the Park Rangers and LAPD stepped up security. We need to demand the same in Debs.

  12. Low life ! I hope she ok & puppy Hope they catch that loser

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