Mounties are searching for witnesses following a disturbing attack in Burnaby's Central Park that left a man in his mid-70s severely injured over the weekend.

Burnaby RCMP said the victim was assaulted on a path near the tennis courts shortly after 9 p.m. Sunday. While his injuries initially appeared to be minor, police have since learned he could end up paralyzed.

"The elderly man is still in the hospital undergoing treatment but at this point there's indications he will have significant mobility issues going forward," Cpl. Michael Kalanj told reporters Tuesday.

Officers have already spoken to witnesses who said they saw a teenager running away from the area toward Patterson SkyTrain Station around the time of the attack.

He is described as non-white, between 14 and 18 years old, 5-9 tall with a slim build. Witnesses said he was wearing a white T-shirt, blue jeans and white shoes, and might have also been in a red cap.

Kalanj stressed that no one saw the actual attack, and the youth is currently only considered a person of interest in the investigation.

"We just know that we have a severely injured man and we have witnesses that said they saw someone running away," he said.

Investigators are still working to determine a possible motive, and to confirm the circumstances of the attack. They are hoping to speak with anyone else who might have seen anything suspicious Sunday night in Central Park, particularly anyone with video recorded between 8:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.

Until a suspect is caught, Kalanj also urged people take extra precautions to remain safe.

"We're also asking that the public remain vigilant," he said. "Don't take your personal safety for granted."

The unsettling attack happened nearly one year after the unsolved murder of Marrisa Shen, the 13-year-old whose body was found in the same public park.

Police have not drawn any connection between the two incidents.

Late Monday night, two days before the grim anniversary, a representative of the Shen family released a statement on behalf of the slain teenager's mother thanking everyone who has helped her through her grief.

She also thanked police for their hard work, and expressed hope they would catch the killer "as soon as possible to comfort my daughter and return safety to our community."

With files from CTV Vancouver's David Molko