Detectives are continuing to urge members of the public using the Salary Brook Trail to be vigilant following a third incident in the area in just over a week.
The most recent incident happened at around 4.35pm on Saturday February 25.
The victim, a 25-year-old man from Colchester, was walking along the Salary Brook Trail after getting off the bus, when he was approached by the suspect.
The man was brandishing what is believed to be a firearm. On seeing the weapon the victim immediately ran home and raised the alarm with police.
Officers quickly attended the scene and, supported by the helicopter, carried out an extensive search of the area. The suspect was not found and the search for him remains ongoing.
It is believed the suspect got on the number 64 bus at the same time as the victim at the stop near to the Atik nightclub on Colchester High Street, before getting off and following the victim along the Salary Brook Trail.
The suspect is described as black, around 6ft 3ins tall and was wearing a grey hoody, black jogging bottoms and black trainers. His hair was shaved at the sides and black and curly on top. He had distinctive tattoos on both hands, which are vertical lines from the wrist to the fingers. He also had a tattoo on his back which is believed to be a heart and arrow.
Acting Det Insp Andy Glister said: “This was clearly a very frightening ordeal for the victim and we are doing all we can to locate the suspect.
“We carried out an extensive search of the area, both on the ground and from the air, and we are continuing to pursue a number of lines of enquiry to arrest the suspect as quickly as possible.
“We have a particularly detailed description of the suspect and we would appeal for anyone who may know this individual to contact us as a matter of urgency.
“Understandably local residents will be rightly concerned given that this is the third incident to occur on the Salary Brook Trail in just over a week.
“We would urge those using the path, particularly outside of daylight hours, to remain vigilant. If you notice anything or anyone acting suspiciously please call us.”
Detectives are exploring whether the incident may be linked to two earlier robberies.
On Friday February 17, between 3.15 and 3.30am, a 19-year-old woman was approached by a man wearing a balaclava, armed with a firearm who demanded her purse. On Saturday February 18 at around 4.15am a woman in her 20s was also threatened by a man wearing a balaclava who had a firearm. The suspect in both of these incidents is described as white and between 5ft 10ins and 6ft tall.
Witnesses or anyone with information can contact detectives at Colchester CID on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.