Man describes escaping from attacker in Washington Park

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DENVER -- Washington Park is the place Ron Johnson comes for quiet reflection and prayer.

Last week was no different for the local pastor. However, his prayer was a lot more urgent.

"I was definitely scared. My heart was pumping. The whole thing just seemed surreal, like I can't believe this is happening," Johnson explained.

Johnson was walking down a sidewalk in the park shortly before sunrise when he noticed a man suddenly changing his path and coming right toward him.

"I thought it was a little spooky but I kept walking his direction for a little bit," said Johnson.

The man then darted behind a dumpster and took off his shirt. Seconds later, he was just a few feet away.

"He said, 'Are you afraid of me?' I didn't say yes, but I was," said Johnson.

Johnson put his hands up and started to back up.

"I said, 'I was just wanting to go for a walk.' As I backed up into the light, he said, 'You think the light is going to save you?'" Johnson said.

The man never demanded money. Instead, he lunged.

"I felt like he was trying to hurt me. He had this menacing look on his face. He looked like he was high or lit up. As soon as he took two steps, I turned and started running away. I haven't sprinted in 20 years, so I just ran as fast as I could," Johnson said.

Johnson escaped but his close call has stuck with him.

He estimates his would-be attacker was in his late 20s or early 30s and describes him as having cropped dark hair and an olive complexion.

Johnson says his prayer walks now happen after sunrise and  include a prayer of thanksgiving that he was somehow able to get away.

"He said, 'Do you think the light can save you?' And I think the light did save me. I really do," said Johnson.

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