The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office released video Wednesday from the incident back on January 22. Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister called the attack “disgusting,” but was grateful 24-year-old Nashali Alma came forward.
Investigators said they responded to the Inwood Park Apartment on West Waters Avenue moments after the attack occurred. Court records show the suspect, 25-year-old Xavier Thomas-Jones, lives at the apartment complex.
Alma told deputies she was exercising alone that night. Around 10:40 p.m., she let the suspect inside the gym. Deputies said Alma had seen him at the gym previously, which is why she opened the door for him.
Hillsborough deputies said Alma was lifting weights when Thomas-Jones approached her and tried to grab her waist. She yelled at him and told him to get away from her, but he chased her around the gym at the apartment complex.
That’s when Thomas-Jones grabbed Alma and pinned her on the floor, deputies said. Alma can be seen on surveillance video trying to fight off the suspect while also trying to call 911 for help. The ordeal was captured on the gym’s surveillance cameras – which can be viewed below. Thomas-Jones also identified himself from the video, according to the arrest affidavit.
Alma said when the attack happened, she knew she could fight back.
“When it was happening, I actually had no fear,” Alma said. “I am a bodybuilder, and I’m actually pretty strong, so in my mind, he was kinda equal to me.”
She said she believes she tired him out.
“The more fight you put the more they want to give up and just told,” she explained. “If I keep going, I keep pushing, he’s going to stop. He’s going to let go and he finally did.”
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