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‘Grabbed me inappropriately’: McAllen runner speaks out after report of assault on trail

11 months 3 weeks 4 days ago Tuesday, February 08 2022 Feb 8, 2022 February 08, 2022 10:52 PM February 08, 2022 in News - Local

A McAllen runner is speaking out after she says she was assaulted on a city trail.

Brandy Ruiz says she’s sharing her story in hopes that it will remind runners to be aware of their surroundings.

RELATED: One arrested in connection with assault investigation in McAllen  

Ruiz regularly runs the hike and bike trail on 2nd Street, but last Wednesday was anything but normal.

"Somebody came from behind me and pulled the back of my shirt and then grabbed me inappropriately,” Ruiz said.

Ruiz says she was assaulted by a man in broad daylight. Ruiz says the man sped away on his bike, but then he came back.

"When I saw that he was coming back, he was looking around to see if there was anyone around, pointed at me and extended his hand like letting me know that he was going to come back and do it again,” Ruiz said.

Ruiz says she was in shock, but that didn't stop her from fighting back.

"I guess it was adrenaline or whatever and I started running toward him like I wanted to attack him,” Ruiz said. "My instincts were just like, ‘Absolutely not.’ Like I wanted to fight whoever was touching me."

Ruiz says the man left shortly after, but the damage was done.

"I'm more angry than anything,” Ruiz said. “I'm really angry and I've been angry for the last week. It shouldn't be happening, like nobody should be disrespecting you [when] you're just trying to exercise."

The Texas Department of Public Safety encourages runners to be alert and use the buddy system.

"Know your location, know your whereabouts, your surroundings, be vigilant,” said DPS spokesperson Maria Montalvo. “Also you might want to go with somebody, especially if it's going to be early in the morning or late in the evening."

Running outside is something Ruiz says she can't live without.

"It's something that I have to do because I'm so busy 24/7, I just need that moment to be outside in nature and connect,” Ruiz said.

Since then, Ruiz says she’s been running on her treadmill.

"I'm just going to take a pause from running outside for a minute because I'm not going to be able to run comfortably, I'm going to be tense,” Ruiz said.

While Ruiz is hesitant to get back out there, she refuses to let this incident take outdoor running from her.

"It makes me feel a little bit more like I'm not going to stop doing what I love, but I'm going to be more vigilant,” Ruiz said.

Ruiz says she's looking into buying a stun gun and plans to change up her route more often.

McAllen police said Tuesday that a person of interest is in custody in connection with the case.

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