Police say a gunman probably randomly targeted three runners. (Stock photo)

Ever since an innocent runner was randomly murdered last October, many members of our area’s running community have tried to be especially diligent—traveling in groups, sticking to well-lit areas, carrying a phone, and even a can of pepper spray, in case of emergency.

One group of female runners in Preston Hollow was doing everything right last Friday, yet they still only narrowly escaped casualty.

The three runners, who prefer not to be named before the perpetrator has been apprehended, meet regularly at 5:30 a.m.

“It’s a bonding experience,” one of them says. “It is my form of therapy.”

Last Thursday, Jan. 22, they left the neighborhood and ran a few miles along the Northhaven Trail, past the Jewish Community Center. They had just turned back onto Royalton when one of them noticed a car—a silver-ish, older model, slightly beat-up Nissan, maybe—idling at the end of the street with its lights off. The driver, who they could not see, flashed his headlights at them.

The 6100 block of Royalton, where three females dodged gunfire last Friday morning.

The 6100 block of Royalton, where three females dodged gunfire last Friday morning.

“Get on the grass,” one of the women nervously told the others, and they launched themselves onto a front lawn just as the car came speeding toward them, “like it was going to hit us,” one of the women says.

“That’s when he shot at us. One bullet. I was close enough that I saw the flash of the gun, smelled the gunpowder,” she says.

Police responded within about 20 minutes, she says. When they made the 911 call, they were clear that the perp had already fled the scene and they were not in immediate danger, she adds.

She says a team of investigators that day recovered a bullet from the door of the home nearest where the crime occurred.

Lt. Israel Herrera with the Crimes Against Persons division of the Dallas Police Department confirms that detectives “have some forensics we are looking into.”

Herrera says a number of witnesses have possibly seen the suspect vehicle and he says police are following every lead.

“We are also working very closely with North Central patrol. They have increased patrol in this neighborhood.”

One of the victims has lived in the neighborhood 20 years and says she has never felt unsafe. In fact, she says, she won’t let this crime stop her from enjoying her morning workouts, though she will proceed with an increased vigilance.

“We all are still trying to wrap our minds around why this happened to us, and this is something we will think about when we run for the rest of our lives,” she says. “I will be aware of my surroundings, be careful, but I went out and ran Saturday. This won’t stop me.”

Police have filed this as an aggravated assault case. They say no other similar crimes have been reported, that no other violent crimes were reported nearby on the day of the attack. Herrera says that evidence so far points to this being a random crime.

“Nothing to point us in the direction of them being a specific target,” he says. Herrera says the best thing we can do to protect ourselves is be aware of our surroundings and call 9-1-1 when we see anything suspicious.

Anyone who has any information about this crime should contact Crimes Against Persons at 214.671. 3584.

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