A 24-year-old Florida woman detailed the moments she spent fighting off a male attacker while trying to work out at her apartment complex’s gym.
Nashali Alma’s desperate fight was caught on camera, showing a man relentlessly pursuing and grabbing her as she tried to get away. Alma explained what happened in a video shared by Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
“As soon as he was approaching me, I pushed him,” she said. “I said, ‘Bro, what the F are you doing? Get away from me. Stop trying to touch me.’ He started chasing me around the bench, and we ended up on the other side of the gym.”
But perhaps the most shocking part was that Alma said that she wasn’t “in fear” during the attack.
“I am actually a bodybuilder, and I’m actually pretty strong,” she chuckled. “So in my mind, he was kind of equal to me.”
Video captures the man, later identified as 25-year-old Xavier Thomas-Jones, allegedly trying to grab at her waist. He chased her around the gym equipment even as she dialed the police for help. At one point the two went to the ground, but it quickly became clear that the man was running out of steam. Gassed from his efforts, Alma was able to escape out the door while he was fighting for breath.
Throughout the entire fight, Alma says she was reminding herself of the advice her parents had given her.
“My parents always told me in life, to never give up on anything and that’s one thing I always kept in my mind when I was fighting him,” she recounted.
Thomas-Jones was arrested less than a full day after the events in the video. According to court records obtained by Fox 13 Tampa, Thomas-Jones lived at the same Tampa apartment complex where the assault occurred.
He is currently charged with sexual battery, false imprisonment and kidnapping and has reportedly admitted to restraining and battering Alma in an effort to have sex with her.
Sheriff Chad Chronister praised Alma for her bravery, as well as for coming to the police following the attack.
“I was disgusted by the suspect’s actions, how he preyed on this young woman. I’m grateful that she came forward, I know her story is going to be an inspiration to other women.”
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