A 24-year-old Tampa woman gave a stranger more than he bargained for after she fought off an attack in the gym of her apartment complex.
The incident took place on Jan. 23 at the Inwood Park Apartment Complex. Nashali Alma, 24, said she had battled her way free of a man who tried to attack her, according to a news release on the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office website.
Police would later arrest Xavier Thomas-Jones, 25. Jones faces charges of sexual battery, false imprisonment and kidnapping.
Surveillance video of the struggle was posted to the sheriff’s office’s Facebook page and to YouTube.
The video shows Alma lifting weights before stopping to open the locked door for a man identified as Thomas-Jones, who had evidently been knocking.
The suspect appeared to try grabbing her around her waist. After a chase, she was temporarily pinned her to the floor, but was able to fight her way free. After another chase around the various pieces of equipment in the gym, she fled.
“I said bro, what the ‘F’ are you doing? Get away from me. Stop trying to touch me,” she said in the Facebook video.
“When it was happening, I actually had no fear,” Alma said, according to WTVT-TV. “I am a bodybuilder, and I’m actually pretty strong, so in my mind, he was kinda equal to me.”
She told WTSP-TV that “he grabbed me and I’m like ‘heck no, it’s game time.’”
“I took my phone and I smashed his head and punched him. I knew I had the strength, I knew I could fight and I wasn’t going to let this man win at all,” she said.
“The more fight you put the more they want to give up,” she told WTVT, saying she told herself, “If I keep going, I keep pushing, he’s going to stop. He’s going to let go and he finally did.”
In the video, she offered advice to other women who are attacked.
“My advice would be to never give up. My parents always told me in life to never give up on anything. And that’s one thing I kept in my mind as I was fighting him,” she said.
“I would tell every woman always to keep fighting, never give up, she said in the sheriff’s office statement. “As long as you fight back and show him that you’re strong and you’re not giving up, I believe it’s possible to escape.
“It’s better to reach out to law enforcement sooner than later,” she added. “The sooner they have the information, the sooner they can catch that person.”
In the release, Sheriff Chad Chronister said, “I was disgusted by the suspect’s actions, how he preyed on this young woman.”
“This woman’s strength, courage, and determination are inspiring. I know that her bravery to share this story will impact the lives of many other women.”
According to WTVT, Thomas-Jones was arrested after he allegedly returned to the apartment complex and asked another woman if he could “hang out” with her, deputies said.
Deputies said the man, later identified as Thomas-Jones, was chased away by the woman and her fiancé but was arrested the next day.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.