‘Never give up’: Dramatic footage shows 24-year-old woman fighting off attacker in empty gym

A 24-year-old Tampa resident gave a stranger more than he bargained for after she fought off an attack in her apartment complex’s gym.

The incident occurred on January 23 in the residential complex Inwood Park. Nashali Alma, 24, said she managed to free herself from the man who tried to attack her, according to a press release on the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office website.

The police later arrest 25-year-old Xavier Thomas-Jones. Jones faces charges of sexual assault, wrongful detention and kidnapping.

Surveillance video of the fight was posted on the sheriff’s office Facebook page and on YouTube.

The video shows Alma lifting weights before stopping to open a locked door for a man identified as Thomas-Jones, who apparently knocked.

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The suspect tried to grab her by the waist. After the chase, she was temporarily pinned to the floor, but was able to break free. After another chase after various machines in the gym, she escaped.

“I said bro, what the hell are you doing? Get away from me. Stop trying to touch me,” she said in a Facebook video.

“When this was happening, I really had no fear,” Alma said, according to WTVT-TV. “I’m a bodybuilder and I’m actually pretty strong so he was about my equal in my opinion.”

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She told WTSP-TV that “he grabbed me and I was like, ‘Damn, it’s time to play.’

“I took my phone, smashed his head in and hit him. I knew I had the power, I knew I could fight, and I had no intention of letting this man win at all,” she said.

“The more you fight, the more they want to give up,” she told WTVT, saying she told herself, “If I keep pushing, I keep pushing, he will stop. He’s going to let go and he finally did.”

In the video, she gave advice to other women who were attacked.

“My advice is to never give up. My parents always told me never to give up on anything in my life. And that’s the only thing I remember while fighting him,” she said.


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“I would tell every woman to always keep fighting, never give up,” she said in a statement from the sheriff’s office. “As long as you resist and show him that you are strong and do not give up, I believe that it is possible to run away.

“It’s better to contact law enforcement sooner rather than later,” she added. “The sooner they get the information, the sooner they can catch this person.”

In a press release, Sheriff Chad Chronicler said, “I was disgusted by the suspect’s actions, the way he hunted this young woman.”

“The strength, courage and determination of this woman is inspiring. I know her courage to share this story will impact the lives of many other women.”

According to WTVT, Thomas-Jones was arrested after allegedly returning to an apartment complex and asking another woman if he could “hang out” with her, MPs said.

Deputies said the man, later identified as Thomas-Jones, was driven off by the woman and her fiancé, but was arrested the next day.

This article originally appeared in The Western Journal.

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