Terrifying surveillance footage captured the moment a woman fights off an attacker who attempted to assault her at her apartment complex’s gym. Nashali Alma, 24, was working out at her complex’s gym in Tampa, Florida, when the man attempted to tackle her to the ground. Xavier Thomas-Jones, 25, is also a resident of the complex, and he’s now behind bars for the assault, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
After the incident, which Alma immediately reported to the police, she said she noticed Thomas-Jones waiting by the glass door of the gym. She initially thought he was just there to work out and paid him no mind. She’d seen him at the gym before and didn’t think anything of it.
Alma continued her workout, but soon after, the man came over to her and repeatedly tried to grab her by the waist.
“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,'” she recalled. It wasn’t long before he managed to pin her to the ground. However, what Xavier Thomas-Jones didn’t know is that Nashali Alma is a bodybuilder and was plenty strong enough to fight him off.
After landing a few decent punches, she managed to get away from her attacker and run out of the gym. She knocked on the door of a nearby apartment and called the police. Thomas-Jones was arrested in less than 24 hours.
Nashali Ali’s bravery led to the arrest of Xavier Thomas-Jones
Xavier Thomas-Jones was charged with sexual battery, false imprisonment, and kidnapping. He allegedly told police that he had been planning to sexually assault Alma. According to an affidavit obtained by CBS Miami, Thomas-Jones attempted another assault the following day. He knocked on a different woman’s door after watching her on her balcony. He even entered the apartment but was scared off by her boyfriend.
Sheriff Chad Chronister thanked Alma for being brave enough to come forward, saying: “I was disgusted by the suspect’s actions, how he preyed on this young woman. This woman’s strength, courage, and determination are inspiring. I know her story is going to be an inspiration to other women.”
As for Alma, she admits she was never really scared because she believed she could escape her attacker. “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 kept in my mind when I was fighting him,” she said in a video released by the HCSO.
“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.”