DeKalb County

22-year-old killed at UGA while jogging raises questions about safety for women runners

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Channel 2 Action News spoke to women who run or walk on a popular Dekalb County trail. They say they are being more cautious after the murder at the University of Georgia.

Channel 2′s Tyisha Fernandes was at Mason Mill Park, where plenty of people are out on Monday.

[DOWNLOAD: Free WSB-TV News app for alerts as news breaks]

“I’m just more cautious about it,” said Layhana Mopono.

Mopono is an Emory University student who likes to enjoy the outdoors when the weather warms up. She loves to run the trail here at Mason Mill Park in DeKalb County.

“Typically I don’t do my runs early in the morning anymore,” Mopono explained.

That’s because there aren’t enough people out to make her feel comfortable in the morning. She felt that way even before Laken Riley was killed while jogging at UGA last week.

Now, she’s even more cautious but she tries not to be afraid.

“I think it’s more of a concerning thing rather than a fear factor because I think if you’re continuously living in fear then it’s (going to) hold you back from doing things you love to do,” Mopono said.


“It seems like female runners are targeted more than ever,” Alec Sunwoo said.

Sunwoo is the owner of Highland Runners. He said several mothers have come into his store since Thursday’s murder at UGA asking how their daughters can be safer while running.

Sunwoo said they should always run in groups. They should try to run different routes so predators don’t know their every move. Also don’t wear headphones or earbuds and get a device that will sound an alarm easily if you need help.

“You can just clip it on your shorts or your belt if you just pull the cord. It’s supposed to be as loud as an ambulance. It could possibly deter the attacker,” Sunwoo said.

[SIGN UP: WSB-TV Daily Headlines Newsletter]