WEST NORRITON (WTXF) - Police in Montgomery County are investigating the sexual assault of a jogger Tuesday morning in which the suspect threatened the victim with a gun.
"I was just looking on my phone and I saw a news report that there was a runner that was assaulted," said Rachel Marco.
She can't believe what police say happened in Norristown Farm Park. A 19-year-old woman says a man with a gun sexually assaulted her while she was out running just before 11 this morning. Marco lives across the street from the park.
"Which is scary because I've been here at 8 o'clock in the morning, I've been there at 6 o'clock when it's kind of getting dark and you never really think about somebody coming to assault you while you're running," she said. Walkers and runners arrived at the park this evening to find it closed. Park Rangers blocked off an entrance as they turned people away and East Norriton Police staked out the nearby neighborhood.
"I knew instantly something was going on," said Kristin Sullivan. She and Howard Wiggins live on the grounds of Norristown State Hospital which is on the same property as the park. They're part of a program called CHOC, Coordinated Homeless Outreach Center, which they say helps get homeless people back on their feet.
"They locked the whole facility down. We weren't allowed to come in or go out," said Wiggins. "I didn't and won't go out by myself until the person is found," said Sullivan.
Rachel Marco says she's still in shock because she's always felt safe there and never heard of anything like this happening before.
"Just because it is so open, there's so many people use it including walkers, people have their dogs around there and there's a baseball field around there. It's really concerning that it's so close," she said.
The victim was treated at Einstein Medical Center. The suspect was wearing a black mask and dark hooded sweatshirt.
The Montgomery County District Attorney's Office, West Norriton Police Department and The Citizen Crime Commission of Delaware Valley are offering a $10,000 reward for any information leading to the identification and arrest of the person responsible.
If you have any information, please call 610-635-4300 or 215-546-TIPS.