An off-duty sheriff's deputy fled a potential attack on the popular Washington and Old Dominion Trail in Virginia on Thursday, a little more than a week after two men assaulted and tried to sexually assault a woman nearby.
The sheriff's deputy was taking her morning run on the trail about 6:30 a.m. Thursday when she saw a man with a box cutter heading toward her, the Leesburg Police Department said.
“The deputy recognized [the weapon], turned and ran, and the suspect fled in the opposite direction," Lt. Jeff Dube said. "There was no physical contact between the suspect and the victim, and the victim was able to get away and call in and report it.”
The incident between Valley View Avenue and South King Street, which police called an attempted assault, follows the assault and attempted sexual assault of a woman walking on the trail on Aug. 17.
The woman told police she was walking about 8:30 p.m. Aug. 17 just east of Sterling Boulevard when two men emerged from a wooded area. They "pulled at her and her clothing before physically assaulting her," the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.
The men fled when a cyclist passed, police said.
Investigators do not believe the two incidents are connected, and are seeking three men. Police released a sketch of the man seen with the box cutter. Anyone with information is asked to call police.
People who use the trail are advised to stay alert, carry a cellphone, avoid wearing earphones, let someone know where you are and avoid the area after dark.
More police will patrol the area.