Woman fights off attacker in the gym, tells others to ‘always be cautious’ and ‘always fight back’

A woman is speaking out and sharing a powerful message after she fought off a man who allegedly tried to rape her. 

Nashali Alma, 24, was exercising alone in her Inwood Park apartment complex in Tampa, Florida, on Jan. 22 when she noticed a man who she had seen at the gym before waiting outside the door. She let him in, but moments later, he attempted to grab her. 

“Whenever it was happening, I wasn’t really fearful at all in my head. It was just I got to fight him. I got to do something, you know, and he was equal to me. He was bigger than me. He wasn’t anything more than my size. And I kind of took that to my advantage, to my own head. And I fought him,” Alma said Thursday on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

The suspect Xavier Thomas-Jones, 25, grabbed her and pinned her to floor, telling deputies after that he intended to rape her. Alma is seen on video fighting back as she attempts to dial 911. 

She was able to get away from Jones after repeatedly hitting him and “yanking out his beard hairs” before escaping and running outside to a nearby apartment. 

Carlson asked Alma how she knew what the man’s intentions were as he approached her because she was seen backing away almost instantly as he came up to her. 

“It’s because my mom always told me, ‘Don’t let anybody ever approach you or touch you if you don’t know them.’ And as soon as he approached me, I knew I had to push him off or do something,” she explained. 

She added that if other women find themselves in a similar situation, they should always “fight back.”

“Always be cautious. Always watch your back. And if you’re ever in that situation, fight back.”

Thomas-Jones was arrested and faces charges of sexual battery, false imprisonment, and kidnapping, according to a press release from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Chad Chronister said he was “disgusted by the suspect’s actions and how he preyed on the young woman.” “This woman’s strength, courage, and determination are inspiring. I know that her bravery to share this story will impact the lives of many other women.”