A 74-year-old longtime Escondido resident who runs 9 miles every other day and passes through Kit Carson Park each time has allegedly been assaulted for the second time in four months. He says he was attacked on Wednesday, January 11 , around 10:30 a.m. Previously he was attacked in September.
Steve Baldwin’s wife, Patti, called The Times-Advocate because she thinks people should be aware that Kit Carson Park is not safe in the daytime. “He was jumped from behind,” his wife said. “He told me, ‘Somebody jumped on my back.’” Two males were involved in the attack. There were no witnesses, say police.
Mrs. Baldwin added, “He was beaten on the left side of his cheek and had bruising on his eye. The second male who attacked him kicked him in his left thigh. It’s hurt him to walk because of that. He’s extremely fit. He exercises all the time.”
The alleged attackers may have emerged from a copse of pepper trees near the trail. They ran off in that direction. Mr. Baldwin did not see their faces. They were young, but beyond that he doesn’t recall much about them.
Steve Baldwin is a retired electrical engineer. “He runs,” Mrs. Baldwin said. “For years he has run. He goes through the park on his nine mile run every other day.” Because two people were playing disc golf nearby, they found Baldwin bleeding near the dirt path where he runs and walked him to the little shop in the park next to the hockey rink. “He runs on the dirt path because that way you don’t run into people with dogs and strollers,” said Mrs. Baldwin.
The man who operates the store called 911 and police and an ambulance arrived. According to Mrs. Baldwin, her husband had no concussion and there were no fractures, “but he was really disoriented from the pounding on his head. And from the torn skin on his face and how it swelled up.” Nothing was stolen.
Escondido Police Dept. spokesman Suzanne Baeder told The Times-Advocate, “We’re investigating it. We have not had any other incidents reported besides him.”
Mrs. Baldwin said that—at the time of the second attack—she spoke to a maintenance worker at the park who told her that years ago it was common to see police patrols driving through the park. That is no longer true, he said. He told her that troublemakers are aware of that and know they can get away with criminal activity.
Regarding the assertion that no police patrol the park, Lt. Baeder added, “There are park rangers and city workers that patrol all the time.” However, the EPD does plan to be more visible in the park from now on, she said. “We are definitely going to up our patrols. We had already talked about getting more visible patrols.”
Lt. Baeder added, “So far, this seems like an isolated attack.”
The Baldwins live about one mile from Kit Carson Park. Married for 50 years, they have lived in the same house for 35 years. They have three children.
The first attack
On September 1, 2022, Mr. Baldwin was allegedly the victim of a first attack while he was running. This time, recalls Mrs. Baldwin, “it was just after noon and he was on his way home from the run.” Although Mr. Baldwin has some memory issues because of previous surgeries, his wife was able to show the police exactly where he was when he was attacked because he carries an iPhone.
“This was a different kind of attack from what happened Wednesday,” she said. “Maybe they were trying to steal his cell phone. He is heading north through the park and a car heading south got really close and the person in the passenger side swung the door and knocked him over.” He DID get a bad concussion from that September attack.
It was a hot day and there was no one else at the park. He stumbled toward the duck pond and to San Pasqual High School, where a security guard saw him. On that day, Mrs. Baldwin got a call from the high school principal.
Mrs. Baldwin told her husband after that first attack, “We are elderly and you are alone. That kind of means you’re a target, if someone has bad intentions.”
Mrs. Baldwin says her message to anyone reading this article is simple: “You gotta be careful in the park.”
Update: As of Monday “Steve is now able to walk without a cane because of his swollen and bruised thigh muscle where he was kicked,” said his wife. “The headaches and dizziness from his concussion [from the first attack] are also getting better.”