A Florida woman is recounting the harrowing experience of fighting off an attacker in her apartment complex gym.
Nashali Alma, 24, was exercising alone in the Inwood Park Apartment Complex in Tampa when the suspect, Xavier Thomas-Jones, 25, reportedly approached her and attempted to grab her waist.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office released a video of Alma on Instagram, in which she details the attack. She explains that she opened the door for Thomas-Jones because she had previously seen him in the gym. She tried to fight off her attacker by pushing him away and yelling at him to leave her alone. He continued to chase her around the gym before finally pinning her down and attempting to restrain her.
“As soon as he was approaching me, I pushed him,” Alma said in a video posted to Instagram by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. “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.”
Alma was able to break free and run to a nearby apartment, where she called 911. Deputies were able to track Thomas-Jones down and arrest him less than 24 hours later. He faces charges of sexual battery, false imprisonment, and kidnapping.
Court records obtained by FOX 13 Tampa show that Thomas-Jones lives at the apartment complex where the attack happened. He allegedly admitted to restraining and battering Alma because he wanted to have sex with her.
Sheriff Chad Chronister 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.”
Alma 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.”