2nd woman attacked along Metropolitan Bike Trail

Kristi King and Amanda Iacone, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – A second woman says she was attacked along the Metropolitan Branch Trail Monday, hours after another woman was assaulted.

Chanel Marshall, 30, tells WTOP that she was walking from work to the NoMa- Gallaudet Metro Station about 5 p.m. when she was attacked from behind by a man who had followed her along the trail.

Marshall says when she first noticed him, she made eye contact with him and continued walking.

“He just rubbed me the wrong way,” she says.

Soon she heard him running up behind her. She stopped and asked him if needed anything and he said no.

She continued walking and that’s when he grabbed her from behind. Marshall says she squatted down and elbowed him in the stomach to break his bear hug-like hold on her, all the while screaming. A co-worker, who was farther ahead of her on the trail, heard her screams and came to help.

They called police and warned co-workers to avoid using the trail, Marshall says.

“I don’t know what he wanted,” she says. “I was just thankful it wasn’t worse.”

D.C. police say they’ve arrested a boy in connection with another assault Monday along the same stretch of trail. Police say the boy attacked the woman with the intent to commit first-degree sexual assault about lunchtime.

He was arrested Tuesday morning.

Police have not released any information about Marshall’s attack.

Marshall regularly walks the trail, the fastest route from her job with the Art and Drama Therapy Institute at the corner of 4th and S streets NE to the NoMa Metro Station. But the half-mile walk follows a secluded stretch of trail, hemmed in by a tall wall, the backs of buildings and the Red Line.

“There’s really no where to run,” says Marshall’s co-worker Jon FLoyd, 25, who now avoids walking along the trail. He was robbed at gunpoint on the trail near the insitute several years ago.

He was walking to work with his earphones on when a man demanded that he turn out his pockets. He was sent on his way and told not to look back or he’d be shot. It was 8 a.m.

“It was the scariest moment of my life. I was like, you can have it. It’s just possessions. I just want my life,” he says.

Both he and Marshall say trail users shouldn’t walk or bike alone and should vary their routes to work. Floyd believes the robber knew his routine.

Both say cameras along the trail and more frequent police patrols would help improve the trail’s safety.

“I just want these people caught. We need take the proper precautions so people feel safe on the bike trail. You shouldn’t feel unsafe early in the morning or in the middle of the day walking to work,” Floyd says.

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