Police: ‘Man who attacked runner is still at large’

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CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee(WDEF) – Chattanooga police are looking for a man accused sexually assaulted an elderly runner in North Chattanooga.

It happened Monday morning around 7:30 on West Mississippi Avenue.

News about the assault sent shock-waves through the North Chattanooga community.

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Tiffany Phillips is a resident who lives on Mississippi Avenue. She says she and many of her neighbors often run for exercise through that area.

"Its very scary because I have two younger children as well. I’m going to make sure to never run by myself and always take someone with me," Phillips said.

Another neighbor says runs almost everyday and was horrified by the news of an attack on a runner.

"It’s just a tragedy. It’s a horrible thing to hear. I hate to think about him and his family. I hate to think about the safety of so many families who are here in this neighborhood," said Carol Howard-Merrit.

The suspect is described as a black man standing 5’8”, weighing 180-200 lbs. He was last seen wearing light colored shorts and a dark colored button-up shirt.

Police are not asking residents to give up running in the early morning or late at night but they are asking runners to be extra careful since the suspect is still at large.

Runners like Christopher Graffe says it pays to always be on alert.

You know, these days you have to be on the lookout everywhere you go. The city is pretty safe but there’s crazy people everywhere and you have to keep your eyes out and be aware of your surroundings," Graffe said.

If anyone has information about the attack or find themselves witnessing suspicious activity involving someone fitting the description, they are strongly advised to contact Chattanooga police at (423) 698-2525.

Authorities say they want to get this person off the street before he strike again.