Teenagers accused of attacking Forest Park runner

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – A runner on a trail at the western edge of Forest Park was attacked by a group of teenagers who beat him with tree branches Sunday evening.

It happened on the pedestrian and cycling trail along South Skinker Boulevard at Arundel Place, just before 7:00 p.m.

The victim says he was running on the trail when he saw five teenage boys blocking the path.

He told police he tried to run around them but the group approached him and started hitting him with tree branches. One was two inches in diameter.

The teenagers also punched and kicked him.

There was no attempt to rob him and police say the attackers said nothing to the victim.

The suspects fled on foot, but they did not get very far thanks to a man passing by on a bicycle.

'There was a very good witness that was alert and called 9-1-1,' said St. Louis Police Department Major Dan Howard. 'We have Forest Park saturated with overtime officers and one was in the area and shortly after doing this we had all five in custody,' Howard said.

The boys range in age from 13 to 16; the victim is a 45-year-old man from West St. Louis County.

He was taken to Barnes-Jewish hospital where he was treated for cuts on his face and bruising on his body.

The five juveniles are being charged with Second Degree Assault, which is a felony.

The suspects are all African-American and the victim is white but police say there is nothing to indicating this attack was racially

motivated.

Police say despite this unfortunate incident, their increased patrols in Forest Park are paying off, saying overall crime in the park is down 55 percent from this time last year, and that this incident is the first crime against a person in 2016.