PORTLAND (AP) – Officers investigating a report that a man threw a substance in the eyes of a runner at a high school track meet have no leads on a suspect despite reviewing 3,500 videos and photos from the competition.

Cumberland Police Lt. Milt Calder described the investigation as “active but inactive,” meaning it’s no longer getting daily attention.

“We don’t have anything concrete to charge anyone,” Calder said. “We just don’t have a suspect.”

Fears of a racially charged incident were raised when Maine’s previously unbeaten Class A cross-country champ reported he was attacked at the 73rd New England Cross Championships at Cumberland’s Twin Brook Recreation Area in November.

Mohamed Noor, a black Somali immigrant who attends Lewiston High School, described the assailant as a middle-aged white man who may have been wearing a green jacket or green uniform.

Noor fell from second place to finish 124th and reported afterward that someone tossed the substance in his eyes.

Cumberland police asked for anyone with video or photos from the regional track meet to come forward, and Calder said he and another officer spent about 40 hours reviewing 3,500 photos and videos that were provided to police.

The investigators were unable to find anyone who fit Noor’s description of the attacker.

No one else reported seeing anything.

“Nobody has come forward other than Mohamed to say, ‘Look, this is the individual.’ I wish they would,” Calder said.

The case remains open and active, but the trail is growing cold. Calder fears the mystery may never be solved unless someone who was involved in the incident picks up the phone and contacts police.

“I would hope to gosh that someone would come forward and say, by the way, talk to this person,” Calder said.

Lewiston High School was closed on Wednesday following a snowstorm, and Noor could not be reached immediately for comment.

Jason Fuller, Lewiston High School’s athletic director, said police investigators have kept him in the loop.

“It’s unfortunate that the whole thing is going to end up playing out like this,” Fuller said. “I could sense from the beginning that it was doing to be difficult to find (the assailant).”

Noor told Fuller that a man who singled him out before the race attempted to throw something at him at the start line and then succeeded on a second try in throwing a substance similar to dirt or sand in his eyes as the runners headed into a wooded area.

Noor struggled to cross the finish line before being treated by an ambulance crew. Witnesses said he was throwing up and his eyes were bloodshot. It wasn’t until after the team returned to Lewiston that Noor reported the episode to his coach.

Paul Driscoll, a Lewiston booster who has a son on the cross-country team, said Noor had his eyes flushed out at a Lewiston hospital. Fuller said Noor’s eyes remained red and bloodshot for several days afterward.

Cumberland police officers were posted at the track meet but they did not learn of the incident until long after the crowds had dispersed, Calder said.



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