Paterson girl fights off attacker with pepper spray

Deputies are looking for a man who attacked a middle school girl near Paterson and was fought off with pepper spray on Tuesday.

Sheriffs’ deputies from Benton and Klickitat counties are searching for a man who attacked the girl as she was running along an airstrip near her home on Alderdale Road west of Paterson on Tuesday.

She used pepper spray against the attacker to get away, according to the Paterson School District. He was sprayed in the face and the spray contained a red dye.

The attacker is described as a Hispanic man, 6 feet tall, with a mustache, wearing blue jeans and a white T-shirt.

The school district sent a letter to parents on Wednesday to alert parents and students to be aware of their surroundings.

“The safety of our students on and off the Paterson school campus is vitally important,” the letter said. “Let your children know that they need to be wary of strangers or individuals who approach them in unusual ways or circumstances.”

People with information about the attacker are asked to call the Benton County Sheriff’s Office at 509-786-2112 or the Klickitat County Sheriff’s Office at 509-773-4545.