Local News

Attack on father, son won't deter regulars from using American Tobacco Trail

Posted June 8, 2016 4:26 p.m. EDT
Updated June 8, 2016 9:45 p.m. EDT

— Durham police are searching for three men after a father and son were attacked on the American Tobacco Trail Tuesday night.

Durham police said that the man and his son were exercising on the trail at about 8 p.m. when they were approached by three men, one of whom implied he had a gun and demanded money.

The father was punched by one of the men, but was able to pick his son up and run away, police said.

Authorities said the men stole the boy’s mountain bike, which was valued at about $125, before fleeing. They were last seen on East Cornwallis Road near Industry Lane.

All of the suspects were described as being between the ages of 16 and 18.

Bicyclist Anthony Hatcher frequents the trail and said the incident gave him reason to be concerned, but he still believes the area is safe.

"I do worry a little bit," he said. "Fortunately, it's never happened to me, but I think it gives Durham and the trail a bad name because I don't think it's that frequent but obviously it makes news."

Alexander Gooch, who walks on the American Tobacco Trail every day, said he was surprised by the incident.

"People ask me all the time, 'aren't you scared' but most of the time I just try to be nice, speak to everybody, wave to everybody and be nice," Gooch said.

Most people said they believe the trail is safe and that the actions of a few should not deter people from using it. Others, however, said they would like to see more cameras and better lighting along the trail.

Durham police increased patrols along the trail Wednesday night and were encouraging people to be vigilant and more mindful of their surroundings- something cyclist Skye Hendrix was already doing.

"I actually carry mace with me when I ride and it's sad that it happened, but for me, I'm going to keep doing what I do," she said.

Anybody with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 919-683-1200.