Tampa woman assaulted late last month, speaks out to encourage other women

A woman talks about how she fought off a man who attacked her in the gym of her apartment complex.

On January 22, Hillsborough County deputies went to the Inwood Park Apartment Complex in Tampa to look into a fight. Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release that Nashali Alma, who is 24 years old, told deputies that a man attacked her in the gym and she was able to get away.

Before letting the suspect into the gym, the woman told police she was working out alone. Alma told him she let him in because she had seen him at the gym before. Alma was working out when the suspect, Xavier Thomas-Jones, 25, came up to her and tried to grab her waist. She yelled at him and told him to leave her alone, but he kept following her around the gym.

Alma was then pinned to the floor by Thomas-Jones. She kept fighting him off while she tried to call for help. She finally got away from him and ran out of the gym to an apartment nearby. The attack was caught on the surveillance camera in the apartment building.

Thomas-Jones was caught by deputies less than 24 hours after they found him.

Sheriff Chad Chronister said, “I was disgusted by what the suspect did, how he preyed on this young woman.”

“I’m impressed by how strong, brave, and determined this woman is. I know that the courage it took for her to tell this story will make a difference in the lives of many other women.”

Alma talked about what happened to her to encourage other women who have had similar things happen to them to speak out.

Alma said, “I would tell every woman to always fight and never give up.”

“I think you can get away as long as you fight back and show him you’re strong and won’t give up. It’s better to talk to police right away than to wait. The sooner they get the information, the sooner they can catch that person.”

On January 23, Thomas-Jones was put in jail. He is accused of sexual battery, false imprisonment, and taking someone against their will.

Jordan Collins

Jordan is an experienced editor with years in the journalism and reporting industry. He loves talking with the community about the problems local residents face and state politics. You can find him in the gym almost every day or see him jogging.

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