A Shawnee woman who fought off an assailant while she was jogging at a local cemetery last week is relieved to know the alleged suspect in that incident has been arrested by police on a complaint of sexual battery.
“I feel better he is custody,” said the woman, identified only as Shelley.
Shawnee police arrested Douglas Brooks Jr., 24, and booked him into the Pottawatomie County Public Safety Center Sunday night. He remained jailed Monday on a $10,000 bond.
Formal charges have not been filed in this case.
Shelley, who identified the suspect from a photo lineup as Shawnee police investigated the case, has decided not to let what happened affect her love of jogging.
Shelley, who said she’s been back to jog in the cemetery several times since this incident, doesn’t plan on ever letting her guard down again.
“I already notice I am constantly looking around for people coming up behind me,” she said, advising women to always “trust their gut.”
The incident occurred about 3 p.m. July 23 as Shelley was jogging around Fairview Cemetery in the 1400 block of North Center.
“It was the middle of the day — I was just jogging,” she said.
After making the first one-mile lap around the cemetery, she noticed a man standing in the cemetery with a backpack.
She wasn’t concerned, at first, and kept running. But after she went a second mile around, the man was still standing there.
“I ran past him,” she said, but about 100 yards later, she heard footsteps behind her.
“I stopped and looked at him,” she said, thinking he needed directions or something. “He told me how pretty I was.”
The suspect tried to give her a necklace and then Shelley, who felt uncomfortable, told him to leave her alone, she said.
“He grabbed my arms and pushed me down,” she said, adding he pulled her toward him and “told me he wanted me.”
When the suspect allegedly said he had seen her there several times, she said that made her feel as if he had been watching her, so she became even more worried. She was able to break free, but he allegedly grabbed her arms again and then tried to get on top of her, she recalled.
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“I was waving and screaming the whole time,” she said.
A grave crew, working elsewhere in the cemetery, didn’t hear her because of a tractor running, but she kept fighting to run toward them.
She fought off the attacker again before finally breaking free and fleeing.
“I ran as fast as I could,” she said, and made it to those workers, who called police.
Shelly suggests those who jog, especially women, should remain aware of their surroundings at all times.
“When we’re running, it’s easy to get focused straight ahead,” she said.
Shelley, who said she’s appreciative to Shawnee police and how they’ve kept her updated with several calls each day during this investigation, said she is especially thankful for the work of Cpl. Cody Gibson and Detective Ronnie Wilson.
As for the suspect named in this case, “I hope he gets the help he needs and I hope justice is served at the same time,” she said.
Formal charges have not been filed against Brooks, but the case will be turned over to the district attorney’s office for consideration.
Overall, this incident hasn’t changed Shelley’s outlook on jogs at the cemetery.
“Even though this happened, it’s still the safest place to go,” she said.
Watch for updates.