Man accused of attacking jogger on High Line Canal Trail currently in police custody

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AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — The Aurora Police Department identified a suspect accused of attacking a woman who was jogging on the High Line Canal Trail on Saturday.

Police said Julio Cesar Gonzalez is in police custody, arrested on unrelated charges. Gonzalez is suspected of attacking former Aurora City Councilwoman Debi Hunter Holen around 6 a.m. Saturday morning on the trail around East 1st Avenue and Moline Street.

Holen was seriously hurt when police say Gonzalez swung a board hitting her as she was jogging in the morning.

The 23-year-old was already in jail is when police identified him as the attacker. 

Andrea Chavez, who lives nearby said, “Oh my God. I’m pretty much speechless. I don’t know what to say about that. I’m terrified and I’m glad I don’t take the canal. That’s frightening.”

Gonzalez was released from the Denver County jail just the day before and was wearing a monitoring device when police say he attacked Holen. 

Police said that monitor played a key role in identifying Gonzalez and determining his involvement.

Aurora Police Public Information Officer Matthew Longshore said, “We got good tips and information from people in the area. This is a heavily populated and used trail so providing a sense of security to those people was a priority.”

Holen’s husband Bill, who is an Arapahoe County Commissioners said, ”Debi is slowly recovering from her injuries in the hospital and her spirits have been boosted immeasurably by all the well-wishes, prayers and words of encouragement…”

She sustained serious injuries and was transported to a local hospital, APD reported.

Another woman was struck with a board while riding her bike with her children around East 2nd Avenue at 11:30 a.m. on July 8. She and her children were able to get away from the assailant and call police. She was taken to a local hospital and treated for minor injuries.

The suspect in her attack is different from the incident on Saturday. She described a Black male approximately 6-foot tall with curly hair. APD did not provide a sketch of her attacker.

APD has increased patrol around the area and suggests some safety tips to keep in mind:

• Pay attention to your surroundings. Criminals tend to avoid people who appear self-assured, so walk purposefully and with confidence.

• Avoid walking at night or in dimly lit areas. If you must walk in the evening, walk in pairs whenever possible and along familiar routes.

• Trust your instincts. If you feel you are in danger, respond immediately. If you feel someone is following you or could hurt you, yell ‘Fire’ instead of ‘help.’ People are more likely to respond to your call for assistance.

Anyone with information on either or both of these cases is asked to email APDCrimeTips@auroragov.org. Tipsters can also contact Metro Denver Crime Stoppers by calling 720.913.7867. Tipsters are eligible for a reward of up to $2,000.

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