Every summer, the Lakewalk in Duluth is one of the most popular places to visit for both Northland residents and tourists. It's a great place for a daytime or evening walk, run, bike, or scooter ride to get amazing views of Lake Superior and the city.

However, as two Duluth residents recently discovered, these days you should never let the beauty of the Lakewalk give you a false sense of security as not everyone in the area is just there for a friendly visit. Things can quickly take a turn for the worse and even become violent.

Daniel Dougherty and his family own and operate Dougherty Funeral Home in Duluth and just before 10:00 p.m. on the night of Monday, August 7, he and his girlfriend Megan decided to visit the Lakewalk. On what was a beautiful summer night, they each rented a scooter near Little Angie's in Canal Park.

The plan was to take a leisurely scooter ride up the Lakewalk to 21st Avenue East, then stop for a drink at a local business and Uber home. Once they began their ride, they noticed that Daniel's headlight wasn't working properly so they decided that Megan would lead the way.

As Megan rounded a corner near 14th Avene East, a deer in her path startled her, causing her to fall and suffer minor injuries. As Daniel stopped to help, he noticed a black Trek bike sitting there and got an eery feeling that someone was nearby. After the wipeout, Megan was unable to ride so they decided to walk their scooters the rest of the way.

It wasn't long after that that they saw someone on that bike pedaling towards them and sensed there could be trouble. The man on the bike, who Daniel said was obviously under the influence from something, asked Megan if Dan caused her injuries. She quickly explained that a deer caused her to fall and she was fine, but he didn't believe her.

Nick Cooper - TSM Duluth
Nick Cooper - TSM Duluth

Daniel then confirmed Megan's story to the stranger and it was then that things turned violent. As soon as Daniel spoke, the man hit him hard on the side of the head with a handgun and then pointed it directly at Daniel's face.

As Daniel stood there with a gun pointed at his face, Megan pleaded with the man not to shoot, reiterating that Daniel is a good man and to please put the gun down. After a traumatizing 45 seconds of holding Daniel at gunpoint, the man got back on his bike and started to ride back toward Canal Park, gun still in hand.

Once he was out of site, Daniel quietly called the police, fearing the man would hear him make the call and return. Two squad cars arrived and while some officers went to try and locate the gunman, others talked with Daniel and Megan to file a report.

Upon hearing the description of the man, an officer mentioned they think they know who had done this, but unfortunately, there are no cameras in that area of the Lakewalk. Here is Daniel's description of the assailant:

  • White Male
  • 5"9'
  • 150 pounds
  • Lighter colored hair with a buzzcut
  • Noticeable sores and scabbing on his jawline
  • Wearing a white shirt and cargo shorts
  • Riding a black Trek bike that looks like it could be a kid's bike
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Daniel, who was left with a bloody ear and facial bruising, says both he and Megan are traumatized but are doing their best to move past this terrifying night. He has even paid a couple of daytime visits to the Lakewalk but he isn't sure he'll go back at night.

On the morning of Thursday, August 10, he called Duluth Police to follow up on the case and they said it remains unsolved, so the assailant is still out there.

While incidents like this are seemingly rare, the couple says it's an important reminder that no matter where you are or the time of day, be aware of your surroundings, trust your instincts, and be careful. Hopefully, authorities find the man involved in this case to prevent him from future violent attacks.

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