AURORA | Two separate assaults involving different suspects on the High Line Canal in the Highland Park Neighborhood in Aurora both involved victims being attacked with a wood board, according to Aurora Police.
Julio Cesar Gonzalez, 23, was identified Monday, police said, and he is a suspect in the attack from Saturday. Police are asking for a single assault charge in the case.
Gonzalez, who is an Aurora resident, was already in custody at the Arapahoe County Jail after Aurora police arrested him July 11 on an unrelated warrant, according to a spokesman for Aurora police.
A woman jogging Saturday at about 6 a.m. on the trail near East First Avenue and Moline Street “was attacked by an unknown man who struck her several times with a board,” police said in a statement. “She sustained serious injuries and was transported to a local hospital where she is currently being treated.”
Police now say Gonzalez was her assailant.
Police said Gonzalez was spotted later in the morning wearing a gray sweatshirt and was seen riding a children’s bicycle. Police did not release other information about the victim.
The first and similar assault was at about 11:30 a.m. July 8 near East Second Avenue when a man approached a woman riding her bike. She was with her children, police reported.
“She was approached by an unknown man who swung a two-by-four board at her, striking her, and knocking her off her bicycle,” police said in a statement.
The woman said she and her children fled and called police. She was taken to a nearby hospital and treated for minor injuries, police said.
“The suspect in the July 8th assault is described as a black male who is approximately 6-foot-tall with curly hair,” police said. “He was wearing a red shirt and black shorts at the time of the crime.”
“We are still seeking suspect information regarding the attack that occurred on July 8th,” Officer Matthew Longshore said in a statement.
Police say they have since increased patrols in the area.
“Our officers and detectives have been canvasing the area looking for the assailants and potential witnesses to these two attacks,” Aurora Police Lt. Chris Amsler said in a statement. “If the public sees either of these two individuals they are advised not to approach them and to call 911 immediately.”
Police offer these tips to remain safe:
— “Pay attention to your surroundings. Criminals tend to avoid people who appear self-assured, so walk purposefully and with confidence.”
— “Avoid walking at night or in dimly lit areas. If you must walk in the evening, walk in pairs whenever possible and along familiar routes.”
— “Trust your instincts. If you feel you are in danger, respond immediately. If you feel someone is following you or could hurt you, yell ‘Fire’ instead of ‘help.’ People are more likely to respond to your call for assistance.”