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Women Stage Solidarity Walk After Attacks On Northwest Side

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About 100 women from the Sauganash neighborhood walked along the Sauganash Trail on Sept. 5, 2013, in a show of solidarity after an attack on the trail a week before, and a second attack a few miles away on another walking trail. (Credit: CBS)

About 100 women from the Sauganash neighborhood walked along the Sauganash Trail on Sept. 5, 2013, in a show of solidarity after an attack on the trail a week before, and a second attack a few miles away on another walking trail. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – About 100 women walked on the Sauganash Trail on Thursday morning, as a show of strength and unity, after two attacks against women on walking trails on the Northwest Side.

CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, in the most recent attack, an off-duty Chicago police officer fought off a man who pushed her to the ground and tried to strip off her clothes as she was jogging on the Sauganash trail on Aug. 29. She punched him and kicked him until he ran away.

Police said, two days earlier, another woman was attacked by a man fitting the same description, along the North Branch Trail, about three miles away in the Edgebrook neighborhood, near Caldwell and Devon.

WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports, on Thursday morning, some women pushed strollers; some walked their dogs; and others walked with their husbands, boyfriends, or other male friends as they followed the Sauganash Trail in a show of solidarity.

“It has really brought not only the women together, but also the men, the families together, as a unity, and saying ‘No, we’re not going to take it, we’re going to stand together, and we’re going to make sure that we’re safe together,’” one woman said.

Many active-duty and retired police officers, firefighters, and judges live in the Sauganash neighborhood.

“Probably one of the safest neighborhoods in the entire city of Chicago,” said Ald. Margaret Laurino (39th). “It’s important for us to send out the message that this is our neighborhood, this is our trail.”

Local residents took some pride in knowing the off-duty officer who was attacked got the better of the man who tried to rape her, forcing him to flee.

“She’s an amazing, strong woman, and he picked the right person to attack, because she really kicked his butt,” one woman said.

Laurino said, “This is a neighborhood that isn’t going to tolerate the bad guys.”

Ursula Hurihan said the attack galvanized the community.

“We’re a very close-knit community. Many of the families that live in this community are … first, second, third generation, so it’s a very close community, and when things like this happen here, we all want to pull together, and help each other out,” she said.

Jackie Dorris said it’s eye-opening that the attack happened in broad daylight.

“You kind of live in a little bubble sometimes, and forget that things like this could happen, and I think there’s definitely a lot more awareness out there now about it,” she said. “It’s a very close-knit community, and I think that people have really come together to say we’re not going to let this happen again.”

Police have released a composite sketch of the suspect, who is described as a Hispanic man, 22 to 26 years old, 5-foot-7, with short black hair, and a light complexion.

A sketch artist's rendering of a suspect who tried to sexually assault an off-duty officer along the Sauganash Trail. (Chicago Police Dept.)

A sketch artist’s rendering of a suspect who tried to sexually assault an off-duty officer along the Sauganash Trail. (Chicago Police Dept.)

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