Crime

Man charged in attempted rape of Wright Park jogger

A cyclist passes Wright Park in Tacoma on May 2016. A 31-year-old Tacoma man was arraigned Wednesday on charges of attempting to rape a jogger in the park Sunday afternoon.
A cyclist passes Wright Park in Tacoma on May 2016. A 31-year-old Tacoma man was arraigned Wednesday on charges of attempting to rape a jogger in the park Sunday afternoon. dperine@thenewstribune.com

A 31-year-old man tried to rape a jogger Sunday in Tacoma’s Wright Park before being chased off by people who were nearby, court documents allege.

Daniel Morgan of Tacoma was arraigned Wednesday in Pierce County Superior Court on charges of attempted second-degree rape and second-degree assault. Morgan is a Level 2 sex offender, Tacoma police spokeswoman Loretta Cool said.

Court Commissioner Meagan Foley set bail at $1 million.

According to charging documents:

Tacoma police were called about 4:15 p.m. to a possible sexual assault in progress at Wright Park, 501 S. I St.

They arrived to find the woman in shock, crying, her clothes covered in fresh mud and grass stains. She told officers she was jogging alone inside the park and was running toward Sixth Avenue when she was pulled down from behind and fell onto her back.

A man jumped on top of her, grabbed her by the neck with one hand and told her to “shush.” She screamed and fought back, biting the assailant on his shoulder.

A bystander heard her screams and spotted the man on top of the woman. The bystander approached and yelled at the assailant, who then ran toward Sixth Avenue with his pants still pulled down.

The bystander chased the assailant while calling 911 as another witness followed the man to an apartment building on Fawcett Avenue.

The second witness heard the man say, “It’s Daniel,” as he tried to be buzzed in.

Police obtained surveillance video from the building and talked with the apartment’s occupant, who said the man appeared “panicked” and out of breath when he arrived around 4 p.m.

A detective who monitors sex offenders identified Morgan from the video.

On Tuesday, the detective interviewed Morgan, who said he was in Wright Park when a jogger screamed at him, attacked him and bit him as he tried to calm her.

He said his sagging pants must have fallen during the incident.

Morgan was arrested after the interview.

Kenny Ocker: 253-597-8627, @KennyOcker

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