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'I Actually Had No Fear': Surveillance Video Shows Florida Woman Fight Off Attacker Inside Apartment Complex Gym

florida woman fights off attacker inside gym video
Source: Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office

Feb. 17 2023, Published 10:09 a.m. ET

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A man ambushed a woman working out in an apartment complex gym in Florida, and officials have released surveillance camera footage showing the woman fighting him off.

On Jan. 22, officers responded to a call regarding an assault at Inwood Park Apartments in Tampa, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said.

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Around 10:40 p.m. that night, Nashali Alma, 24, was exercising alone when she buzzed in the suspect, identified as 25-year-old Xavier Thomas-Jones. She told police she had seen him at the gym before so felt comfortable opening the door.

Video shows Alma lifting weights when Thomas-Jones approaches her and tries to grab her waist. She yells at him and tells him to get away from her, but he chases her around the gym.

Thomas-Jones then grabs Alma and pins her on the floor. In the video, Alma attempts to fight off the suspect while trying to call 911 for help.

She told WTVT, "When it was happening, I actually had no fear. I am a bodybuilder, and I’m actually pretty strong, so in my mind, he was kinda equal to me."

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Alma explained to the station she knew she had to tire her attacker out.

"The more fight you put in, the more they want to give up and just fold," she said. "If I keep going, I keep pushing, he's going to stop. He's going to let go and he finally did."

After Thomas-Jones released his grip on her, Alma ran from the gym to a nearby apartment, officials said.

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The suspect lives at the apartment complex and identified himself in the video, court records state.

Court documents also claim he admitted to restraining and battering Alma because he wanted to have sex with her.

Thomas-Jones was arrested on Jan. 23, and faces charges of sexual battery, false imprisonment, and kidnapping. He remains in the Faulkenburg Jail.

Sheriff Chad Chronister said he was “disgusted” by the actions of Thomas-Jones and Alma’s “bravery to share this story will impact the lives of many other women.”

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