VIRGINIA

Woman assaulted in Loudoun County park

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Families in Ashburn are on alert after police say a woman was assaulted at a popular park.

Loudoun County deputies say the assault happened at Trailside Park during a girl's softball game Saturday afternoon. They say a man, who was acting erratically, started calling out obscenities. When a woman asked him to leave, he hit her with a blunt object and took off.

The woman was treated for minor injuries.

Four-year-old Carter and his dad, Ted Burnes, play ball at Trailside several times a week. They've never questioned their safety at the park until now.

Burnes said, "You get pretty spoiled living out here, and you just assume that it's safe and you're protected, but obviously that's not the case."

Other park guests were also shocked by the news.

"I definitely think if there's anything that makes you pause and say 'I wonder why he's here' or 'Oh, I think he looks a little off'...and especially if someone's swearing, I definitely would be hesitant to get involved. I'd be more likely to ask the police or someone else to get involved," Rebecca Beal of Ashburn said.

Wendy Larson lives across the street from the park. She and her dog, Angel, go to the park often and have never spotted trouble.

"Walking around here, I'm always on the lookout just to be sure," Larson said. "But I still feel safe here. There's always a lot of police around this area."

But Burnes says what happened is a wake-up call. While he and his son will continue visiting,  they realize no community is ever immune from crime.

"I think especially with kids [people] get too complacent, thinking that everything is going to be safe and easy. They have to be careful of strangers and people they don't know, and they can't take anything for granted," Burnes continued.

Police describe the suspect as black man last seen wearing blue jeans, a blue fleece with a grey vest on top. He was also riding a bicycle. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office.

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