Dallas, TX – A 24-year-old woman who fiercely fended off the man who attacked her inside her apartment gym last month is urging other women to fight back and never give up if they find themselves in a similar situation (video below).
“I was disgusted by the suspect’s actions, how he preyed on this young woman,” Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a press release on Feb. 15. “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.”
Nashali Alma, 24, said she was working out alone at the Inwood Park Apartment Complex gym on Jan. 22 when a man she’d previously seen in the gym approached the locked outer door.
He was later identified as 25-year-old Xavier Thomas-Jones.
Alma said she opened the door for him since she recognized him as someone who had been there in the past, and that she then returned to her workout.
“My thought process was it was just another dude coming in to work out, so I didn’t think of anything out of that,” she explained in a video released by the sheriff’s office.
But as Alma continued her workout, Thomas-Jones suddenly closed in on her, security footage showed.
“As soon as he was approaching me, I pushed him,” Alma recounted. “I said, ‘bro, what the f are you doing? Get away from me. Stop trying to touch me.’”
That’s when Thomas-Jones began chasing her around the gym, security footage showed.
He managed to grab ahold of her waist and took her to the ground as she frantically punched and kicked in an effort to escape.
Alma continued brawling with her attacker even after he pinned her to the ground, the video showed.
He ultimately gave up and released his grip, at which point Alma was able to run out of the gym to a nearby apartment, the sheriff’s office said.
Alma reported the attack and deputies identified and arrested Thomas-Jones less than 24 hours later.
He has been charged with false imprisonment, sexual battery, and kidnapping.
“I’m grateful that she came forward,” Sheriff Chronister said in the video release. “I know that her story is going to be an inspiration to other women.”
Alma said that during the fight wither attacker, she remembered her parents telling her as a child to never give up on anything.
“I would tell every woman always to keep fighting, never give up,” she said. “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,” Alma added. “The sooner they have the information, the sooner they can catch that person.”
Watch the incident unfold in the video below: