19-year-old woman pepper sprays attacker, escapes unharmed near Raptor Ridge
Deputies located and apprehended Christopher Daniel Tucker near the Pine and Cedar Lakes trailhead.// Photo by Katie Rickel
A 19-year-old woman was attacked on Raptor Ridge Trail on July 6 while running with her three dogs. She escaped unharmed through the use of pepper spray. The attacker was later identified as Christopher Daniel Tucker.
Tucker, 34, was arrested on suspicion of stalking, fourth-degree assault and resisting arrest. The arrests resulted in a Department of Corrections swift and certain violation for violating his D.O.C. supervision.
He was booked into Whatcom County Jail on July 6 and remained in jail as of July 31.
The woman first encountered Tucker on the trail when he passed her heading up the trail, according to the sheriff’s report. It was reported that roughly 10 minutes later, the woman turned around to see Tucker approaching her at a very fast pace. She was able to let him pass, but was nervous about the encounter.
According to the report, Tucker came back down the trail 15 minutes after the second encounter and headed towards the parking lot. One of the woman’s dogs barked at Tucker, and he stopped about 8 feet away from her.
According to the report, “She said it was becoming obvious the man was trying to scare her or intimidate her.” It was reported that at this point,the woman told Tucker he was frightening her and that she would pepper spray him if he tried to get closer.
The woman took some steps back in order to create distance, but Tucker “continued to stare at her with what she called a smirk on his face,” as stated in the report.
Tucker then lunged at the woman, attempting to grab her but she was able to pepper spray him. The woman began to run toward the parking lot and called 911 once Tucker was out of sight, according to the sheriff’s report.
When the Deputies arrived, they reported that they found Tucker about half a mile away from the Pine and Cedar Lakes trail head, and were able to identify Tucker based on the description given by the woman. The sheriff’s report stated that he admitted he ran into the woman a few times, but denied trying to attack her.
The report stated the deputies handcuffed Tucker and escorted him to the trailhead, where the woman positively identified him as the attacker. The file reported that while searching for identification, the deputies discovered that Tucker was on active Department of Corrections supervision.
According to the report, the woman’s father had purchased the pepper spray for her as a cougar deterrent and that, “having the pepper spray likely prevented [the woman] from being assaulted in a very secluded area.”
“It is exceedingly uncommon for somebody to be attacked by a person on a trail,” Jason Martin, the director of operations at the American Alpine Institute, said. “That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen.”
Spencer Pickell, a bike technician at Western Outdoor Center, frequently bikes the trails at Raptor Ridge.
“It’s pretty unbelievable. That’s really close to town so it’s really surprising for me to hear that,” Pickell said. “Yeah, that’s scary. Maybe I’ll pick up some pepper spray too.”
Martin said one is less likely to be chased uphill as opposed to downhill.
“I think that one thing that is important for people to recognize when it comes to the danger of individuals in the wilderness is that there are far more people in the woods than you think. There are more people on the trails than you think,” Martin said. “If someone is being dangerous, making noise or yelling, people will come.”
According to Whatcom County Jail, Tucker is still in custody and has a court hearing on Aug. 7 for his sentencing.