We the community, need your help in reporting such occurrences - whether you were a victim in the recent past or if this unfortunately happens to you or a loved one next time you walk the trail. The man is known to the police, but we the public need to follow up on any incident and help us to get this "pressure cooker" off our path. Just calling 9-1-1 will not be enough to stop this individual.
Cedar River Trail were distributed by the Renton Parks Department. A couple that I have been in contact with recently (who will remain anonymous), had just such an incident with a man on the Cedar River Trail one morning in winter and have been galvanized to spread the word and try to make Renton safe from someone who acts like a walking time bomb of anger and malice. Through the assistance of Terry Higashiyami of the Parks Department and Cyndie Parks of the Renton Police Department Crime Prevention Unit, the story is getting out.
The couple have been walking the trail for 15 years now, every morning and each day of the week. When the young man came upon them that morning of December 20th, they tried to avoid him, get out of his way, but when he targets you, there is no escape. The man is a verbal abuser - racial slurs, cursing and he likes to spit on you as he does so. So as the couple tried to veer out of his way, the man stiffened his shoulders and ran into them, sending them off the path. Totally unprovoked, other walkers have shared the same story. Men with sturdier builds have been his victim as well. The man seems fearless and aggressive. He has "stalked" women on the trail and seems to enjoy it. His actions are becoming bolder and more alarming as his violence escalates. The City of Renton trash cans that have been vandalized were the result of his karate style kicks (he was identified and seen by another walker of committing this act). Since reporting this, the man has changed his clothing and his hair, but he likes to circle the trail from the lake to the library and seems to be savvy enough, like Robert Di Nero's character in the movie "Cape Fear, with just what he can get away with in regards to the law.
So, what can you do? Well, if you see or are the victim of this kind or intimidation or harassment, first call 9-1-1. Please then follow this up with a call to either Terry Higashiyami of the Renton Parks Department or Cyndie Parks of the Renton Police Department Crimes Prevention Unit, who are teaming up to handle this situation.
If you have already been a victim of this type of incidence - please call Terry and Cyndie as well. They are pulling together a file and would like to hear from you. It is important - let's get this guy off the trail before something worse happens to a neighbor or a friend.
Walking groups are being formed so that in numbers, those who walk the trail can find safety. There is mention of having Cyndie Parks give a talk on "Safety on the Trail". In the meantime, please keep safe out there and don't take matters into your own hands - just call the police. I will give updates when I can.
Community Programs Coordinator/Crime Prevention Unit
Administrator Community Services/Renton Parks Dept.
UPDATE 1/28: Our guy, who has changed his look by getting facial hair and jogging in dark clothes , "probably" got taken in on other charges the night before last, according to our Mayor, but not on the charges listed above. We still need to help call in, help the police build a case. Remain vigilant but not turn into vigilantes.