A Florida woman was just trying to get a workout in when a black male entered the gym complex and attempted to sexually assault her, chasing her around the gym complex until she fought him off.
That happened at the Inwood Park Apartment Complex in Tampa on January 22nd. There, the 24-year-old woman, Nashali Alma, was, fortunately, able to fight off her attacker, and the whole thing was caught on camera. Speaking about the frightening attack in a video posted to Instagram by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Alma said:
“As soon as he was approaching me, I pushed him. 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.”
According to Alma in the vide, she was in the gym alone, exercising, when the suspect entered. That suspect is Xavier Thomas-Jones, a 25-year-old black man. She opened the door to the gym for him because she’d seen him in the gym before. He, after entering the gym, approached her and tried grabbing her by the waist.
She then yelled at him, as she described in the video, and demanded he back off and get away from her. He, unsurprisingly, refused. He then started to chase her around the gym and eventually caught up to her and pinned her to floor.
Despite being caught by Thomas-Jones, Alma didn’t stop fighting. She continued to fight him while pinned to the ground and attempted to call 911. Eventually, she was able to slip away when his grip slackened for a moment and ran out of the gym and to an apartment nearby.
Police arrived after her call and were able to catch him after he returned to the gym complex. Fox 13 Tampa, reporting on that, said:
As deputies were searching for him, Thomas-Jones returned to the apartment complex. The next day, around noon, deputies said he watched another woman on her balcony “for several minutes” before knocking on her apartment’s front door.
She answered, unaware Thomas-Jones was observing her just moments before, according to the suspect’s arrest affidavit. He asked her if she wanted to “hang out,” to which she replied, “Who the f— are you?”
Deputies said she began to panic and Thomas-Jones took four steps into her home. It alerted her fiancée who chased the suspect away from the apartment and took a video of him.
Deputies said they were able to track down the suspect, and he was arrested in less than 24 hours. The second victim – who was not identified in the affidavit – and her significant other identified Thomas-Jones in a live show-up.
In court documents, Thomas-Jones admitted to restraining and battering the first victim because he wanted to have sex with her. As for the second victim, deputies said he went to the front door because he thought the victim was “pretty” and had sexual intentions with her as well.
Alma, commenting on her lengthy fight against Thomas-Jones, said “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 always kept in my mind when I was fighting him.”
Sheriff Chad Chronister, speaking about the incident, said “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.”
Watch the attack here:
Featured image credit: Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office
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