HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A local runner is speaking out after he was assaulted last week while running on the Longleaf Trace.
“I was in complete shock thinking that, oh my God here in Hattiesburg, Mississippi on the trace where we run all the time,” said Brandi Blake of the Pine Belt Pacers, a local running club.
Last Friday afternoon, Grover Brown was taking his daily run workout on the Longleaf Trace when he was hit what he believes was an air rifle.
"I felt a stinging sensation in my right arm,” Brown said.
Next, Brown said he saw a young man running down the bank after he was shot
“He might have been a teenager," Brown said. “It was hard to get a look.”
Brown then continued with his run.
“About a half mile later, I felt something running down my arm and thought, ‘Well, he must have popped me with a paintball gun.' But I looked down and saw it was actually bleeding."
Brown then found other runners and warned them while he called 911.
“I think it was an isolated incident,” Brown said. “I’ve run thousands of miles on this Trace in the years that I’ve lived here. Never have I felt unsafe.”
Because of this incident, the Lamar Country Sheriff’s Department and the Hattiesburg Police Department have increased patrols along the trace, but especially in the West Hills Drive area where it happened.
“He’s fine and we’re all thankful for that," Blake said. "We are very glad the Hattiesburg Police Department and the Lamar County Sheriff’s Department are upping their security to make the trace a safer place.”
Brown wants to encourage anyone who runs on the trace to be aware and run with a buddy if you can.
“If you’re going out and you anticipate running around sunset, which is when this happened, maybe run with a friend," Brown said. "That may deter some of this delinquency.”
If you have any information about this incident, please call the Lamar County Sheriff’s Department at 601-544-2412 or Crime Stoppers at 601-582-7867.