Jun. 11—Portland police are investigating yet another unprovoked assault, this one involving a male victim, who was sitting on a bench at Fort Sumner Park on Munjoy Hill when someone struck him in the back of his head with a blunt object.
Authorities are trying to determine if the latest attack, which took place around 10 p.m. Wednesday, is connected to three recent assaults, in which the victims were women.
Two of the female victims were walking in Portland's West End, while the third was attacked on North Street on Munjoy Hill. Fort Sumner Park is located on North Street.
David Singer, a spokesman for the Portland Police Department, said the 33-year-old victim in Wednesday night's attack told police he went to the park, which overlooks Back Cove and the Portland skyline, and was sitting on a bench when someone came up from behind and hit him in the head. The victim took himself to the hospital, where he was treated and released.
Portland police described the assailant in Fort Sumner Park as a male with a dark complexion and wearing a white T-shirt. In the West End attacks and the first assault on Munjoy Hill, the victims described the assailant as a white male with a thin build.
"Such random assaults are not commonplace in the city of Portland," Police Chief Frank Clark said in a statement Thursday afternoon. "Our officers and detectives are working diligently to identify the person or persons responsible for these cowardly attacks, and hold them accountable for their actions."
Singer said there is no immediate plan to release any photographs or security footage that might help the public identify a potential suspect. However, the female victim in Tuesday night's attack on Brackett Street posted a security camera image on social media of a tall, thin white man, who a West End resident claimed was peeping in the person's bedroom window.
The security camera photo is being examined by police detectives to determine whether the person in it is a suspect in the recent assaults, according to Singer. He said Portland police discourage anyone from posting footage, clips or photos on social media to ensure the integrity of the department's investigation as well as other people's safety.
In response to the attacks, the police department's command staff has ordered an increased patrol presence in the affected neighborhoods. Authorities are also encouraging people to call police if they notice someone acting in a suspicious manner or anything that may seem out of the ordinary.
At Wednesday night's meeting of the West End Neighborhood Association, residents discussed the prospect of establishing a phone tree whereby suspicious activity could be transmitted from one person to a neighbor, or even establishing a volunteer escort service for anyone seeking a companion to walk with to or from work.
Portland police released a list of the most recent assault cases on Thursday:
— On Tuesday, June 8, around 10:25 p.m., a 24-year-old woman walking in the vicinity of 250 Brackett St. was assaulted from behind with a blunt object. A witness who interrupted the attack described the assailant as a white man with a tall, thin build.
— On Saturday, May 29, around 12:25 a.m., a 32-year-old woman was attacked from behind near 150 North St., knocked to the ground and struck multiple times. The assailant was described as a white man with a tall, thin build and blond hair.
— On Wednesday, May 5, around 9:35 p.m., a 28-year-old woman was tapped on the shoulder in the area of 95 Gray St. before being struck in the face and knocked to the ground. The attacker was described as a white male with a slim build who was possibly wearing a ski mask.
Portland police also issued an update on a previously reported assault that took place in October 2020 in the West End. A female was assaulted on Thomas Street and several other women were approached by a man matching the victim's description of him, but the suspect in that assault has been identified. Portland police did not arrest the attacker because the victim chose not to pursue charges, Singer explained.
"Police are confident that these latest incidents are not related to the October incidents," Singer said.
Anyone with information regarding the recent assaults or who may have witnessed an assault is encouraged to contact the police department at (207) 874-8575.