Saratoga Springs

Woman attacked at SPAC continues search for attacker

Victim turned to social media in effort to find suspect
Picozzi took the inset photo of her injuries after the Saturday incident at SPAC.
Picozzi took the inset photo of her injuries after the Saturday incident at SPAC.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Ballston Spa resident Gigi Picozzi headed out to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center Saturday for a concert, as she has so many times before. 

The 20-year-old’s experience, however, was quite different this time; she was attacked by a man who was trying to move through the crowded lawn. 

“This guy came up to me, and he was trying to push through the crowd, and I turned and said, ‘I don’t want to lose my spot; I’m not moving,'” Picozzi said. “He pushed against me on the right side with his body, and the people on my left pushed back.

“He fell backwards and then came up behind me, and reached his hand between my legs.”

Picozzi said she yelled at the man after grabbing and squeezing his arm. 

“He hit me in the face. I fell backward, and there was blood pouring down my face,” she said. “A couple of people helped me up, and I was in such shock.

“My friends helped me find my phone, which fell out of my pocket, and then took me to the EMTs who took care of me.”

Picozzi also filed a police report with state park police, who said they are investigating the incident.

According to park police, the suspect is white, 18-20 years old, around 5 feet, 11 inches tall, wearing a black hat and white basketball jersey. 

Park police said more than 22,000 people attended Saturday’s Kendrick Lamar concert. They responded to 85 calls for service, including issuing dozens of tickets for underage possession of alcoholic beverages and assisting medical staff.

On Sunday, Picozzi decided to go to Saratoga Hospital to seek further treatment. 

“I was in a lot of pain, but thankfully, I didn’t have a concussion and my nose wasn’t broken,” she said. 

When Picozzi got home on Sunday, she decided to write post on Facebook to let others know what happened in hopes of finding her attacker. 

The post was widely shared.

“Social media is one of the most powerful tools I know, and I’ve met girls who have told me they’ve been raped or sexually assaulted,” she said. “I think people don’t take this kind of thing seriously enough. I want people to be vocal about their experiences and know that they aren’t alone. If I can help one other girl out, I’ve done my job.”

Picozzi said she has met with a park police detective who informed her on Wednesday that there was no new information about her case. 

“I’ve been digging through social media to find pictures people took from the concert in hopes of finding a person matching the description,” she said. “I’ve also talked to a few witnesses on Facebook who I’ve put in touch with the detective.” 

On Monday, Picozzi will begin working with adults with developmental disabilities at Camp Wilton, an eight-week residential summer camp. 

“Training was this week, and there was a meet-and-greet barbecue on Sunday that I didn’t go to,” she said. “The job is going to be very intensive, and I need to work on myself and this trauma.” 

Picozzi said she will be seeking counseling services. 

“Every time I see people, I put on a front that I’m doing OK, but I’m really not,” she said. 

For those who attend a concert or event at SPAC, Picozzi advises them to introduce themselves to the people around them and take videos and photos of any incident that occurs. 

“Be an advocate for someone and be a witness, so people don’t feel welcome to engage in this kind of behavior,” she said. “I hope to see a decrease in the amount of cases like this.”

Anyone with information about Picozzi’s incident was asked to called park police at 518-584-2004.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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