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Lakefront Runner Attacks: Rollerblading Man Reportedly Punching Joggers On Trail

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Multiple confrontations with a rollerblader have been reported on the lakefront path.
Multiple confrontations with a rollerblader have been reported on the lakefront path.

Chicago's picturesque lakefront trail attracts hundreds of runners, cyclists and outdoor enthusiasts daily, but it's not always the safest place to jog.

This time last year, massive waves forced the city to shut down the path between Oak Street Beach and Fullerton Avenue after strong winds and water knocked people off the path.

Earlier this year, a confrontation between a jogger and two pit bulls left the man in critical condition, and police were forced to shoot both dogs fatally.

Now, runners are reporting a new menace along the lake: an unidentified man on rollerblades who's at the center of multiple assault allegations.

The Chicago Area Runner's Association (CARA) issued an alert on their Facebook page Tuesday that they'd received multiple reports of a man on rollerblades punching, elbowing or grabbing male and female runners on the path. The suspect is described as between 50 and 60 years old, approximately 6'3" on rollerblades, possibly with gray hair.

The Park District said they've fielded similar reports and said the assailant strikes between Navy Pier and Museum Campus, according to Fox Chicago. They told the station there were incidents involving a high school cross country team, and a report of an altercation that happened during a fundraising race.

Jennifer DeSalvo told CBS Chicago she believes the same man punched her in the chest while she was running on Sept. 8.

“I shouted out to him, ‘Hey, thanks for punching me,’ because I didn’t know what else to say," DeSalvo told the station. "And he yelled back, ‘Get off the path,’ which I thought was pretty odd, because there was a bunch of little girls around."

The lakefront path may be especially busy as runners amp up their training in advance of the Chicago Marathon Oct. 7. CARA is urging runners to report any violent confrontations along the path to police.

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