Police: Worries about Suwanee Greenway attacks may be overblown

Tensions following a woman’s brutal attack on the Silver Comet Trail in Paulding County last week have made way to Gwinnett County.

This week, residents have been warning others to keep their eyes and ears open on the Suwanee Creek Greenway trail, after reports that multiple women were attacked while running there recently. The warnings sparked worry among some that someone is lurking along the local trail waiting to hurt women.

But Capt. Cass Mooney, spokesman for the Suwanee police, says the Paulding incident, aided by inaccurate reports in Suwanee, may have residents’ backs up a bit more than is necessary. There most recent Suwanee incident, in which two women were groped, happened early Monday night, but it wasn’t on the trail, he said.

“It was nowhere near the Greenway,” Mooney said Wednesday. “Everyone’s drawing conclusions. Everyone is trying to make it a story it’s not.”

Mooney said the incident sparked an announcement by a local running club, warning its members of the dangers lurking along the trail.

The incident happened on Eva Kennedy Road, near Stonecypher Road, some distance from the trail.

According to the police report, two women were running when a man, described as black, about 5 feet, 9 inches and 160 pounds, approached them. The man, wearing a red shirt and khaki pants reportedly, told the women he was a runner too and tried to start a conversation.

The report says the man then began to chase the women before one of them slowed down to dial 911 and he grabbed her breast and backside.

The word going around Suwanee was that police believe this man was also behind another groping incident in June, which did happen on the Greenway, but Mooney says they may be isolated incidents.

In the June 29 incident, a woman reported to police that a young man began to follow her on the trail, off McGinnis Ferry Road. The man wore a light blue polo shirt, khaki cargo shorts and a dark colored hat, according to the report. The woman was suspicious because he wasn’t wearing running shoes.

The man jogged along with the woman and, after some conversation, rushed her and grabbed her backside, the report says.

While similar to the incident Monday, Mooney said police aren’t sure if the two encounters are related.

“Other than the touching, we have nothing to link the two incidents and we never told anyone that we thought it was the same person,” the captain said. “The incidents are still under investigation.”