TYLER, Texas (KETK) — A Tyler man is behind bars, and a mother is urging vigilance after what she’s calling a “disturbing park encounter”.
Morgan Magee took to social media Monday morning to post her frustrations after she says a man approached her on the Rose Rudman Trail, pulled her earphones out, and followed her while running.
“Something told me to turn around and he was right behind me,” said Magee.
While running, Magee called police, and a dispatcher stayed on the phone with her until she reached her vehicle, where a Tyler Police Department officer was waiting.
Magee was able to locate the man she felt threatened by and point him out to police.
Officers then approached the man, now identified as Salvador Zapata, 30, of Tyler.
After running his name, they learned he had previously been in trouble with law enforcement after witnesses say he exposed himself to a woman at a local park.
That incident was resolved by his banishment of all parks.
“We arrested him on site for criminal trespass, so it was an on-site arrest, not related to what he actually did to her, but because he was in the city park,” said Don Martin with Tyler Police Department.
After the Sunday incident, Zapata was charged with criminal trespass and taken to the Smith County Jail. He has since bonded out.
Magee says she won’t let the incident affect her life from now on, but she has learned from the experience.
“I’m not going to let anybody or any fear tactic keep me from my habits and bettering myself,” said Magee. “So, I’ll probably come back, I’m just going to be more aware, more cautious. And thankfully, I’ve had a lot of people who have given me some awesome tips and I’ll carry them with me in the future.”
Officer Martin says anyone in any public place should keep a few safety rules in mind.
- There is safety in numbers, so run or walk with a buddy
- Try to stay in populated, well-lit areas
- If you feel uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to call police
Magee just wants other women and runners to be aware of their surroundings.