Assault prompts defense classes

January 28, 2006

The Hood River City Police Department will teach area women basic defense skills — and ways to avoid becoming the victim of an attack.

Capt. Kevin Lynch said a free class has been scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday and another at the same time on Feb. 8. He will be assisting Officer Erin Mason, certified in defensive tactics, and Officer Mike Martin, certified ground fighting instructor, in the wrestling room at Hood River Valley High School.

Lynch said the classes are intended to calm citizen fears following two January attacks. He said the recent incidents have sparked a lot of anxiety for area families. And unfounded rumors have begun circulating around the city about other assaults, which has just increased the level of concern.

“We’ve been getting a lot of calls from women asking what they can do to stay safe. So we decided this was something that we could do to help out,” said Lynch.

He said participants will be taught defensive and escape skills to use against an attacker. However, Lynch said equally important will be instruction about how to avoid getting caught in a bad situation.

“Half of the battle is to be thinking ahead so that you can plan to stay out of harm’s way,” he said.

Class sizes are limited to 30 people and Lynch said any teenage or adult female interested in signing up is welcome to call his direct line at 387-5255. If more people are interested than can be accommodated in the two sessions, Lynch said other classes will be held in the near future.

“We will make sure that any woman who wants to learn these skills has the opportunity,” he said.

On Monday, a Hood River woman reported that she had been physically restrained from behind by an unknown male. She said the attempted assault had occurred about 1 a.m. while she was walking her dog near the intersection of Eighth Street and Pacific Avenue.

The victim fought off the unseen suspect and fled to her home where she called 9-1-1 for help. Neither Police Chief Bruce Ludwig nor Hood River County Sheriff Joe Wampler believes that incident is related to the Jan. 12 rape of a Markham Road woman.

In that incident, the victim had gone outside her home about 5:30 a.m. to investigate why her dog was barking. She was sexually assaulted by a man who then fled on foot.

By working with a forensic artist from Clackamas County, the woman came up with a composite sketch of her attacker. She believes he was a Hispanic male who stood about 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighed about 190 pounds. He was wearing dark rain clothing with a bandana underneath his hood.

Anyone with information on either case is asked to call Sheriff’s Detective Gerry Tiffany at 387-6846 or City Detective Stan Baker at 387-5251.

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For a sketch of the Barrett Drive suspect and other details, go to: www.hoodrivernews.com

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