A Washington state woman is battered and bruised but standing tall today after fighting off a would-be attacker in a park bathroom on Sunday.
The Seattle woman was training for a marathon when she stopped to use a public bathroom in the park where she runs and was attacked by a man hiding in a stall. She shared the terrifying story on her Instagram page.
Thirty-six-year-old Kelly Herron is a self-described “marathoner in training.”` She enjoys long distance running at Golden Gardens Park in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle Washington.
This Sunday, she was four miles into her training run when she stopped at a public bathroom in the park for a quick break.
There, her “biggest running nightmare” almost came true. Waiting in a stall was forty years old Gary Steiner, a registered sex offender, and known troublemaker.
When Herron entered the facility, he ambushed her. Luckily she was able to fight back, thanks to a recent self-defense course that she had attended through her employer.
She shared the story of her harrowing ordeal in a post on Instagram, along with pictures of her face and body, post attack.
“My biggest running nightmare became reality. 4 miles into my long run Sunday afternoon, I stopped to use the restroom and was assaulted by a man hiding in a stall (that is my GPS in red lines). I fought for my life screaming(“Not today, M**F**er!”), clawing his face, punching back, and desperately trying to escape his grip- never giving up. I was able to lock him in the bathroom until police arrived. Thankfully I just took a self-defense class offered at my work and utilized all of it. My face is stitched, my body is bruised, but my spirit is intact.”
Speaking with the local ABC news affiliate, KIRO, she said she noticed something was wrong while she washed her hands, calling the incident a “fight on the bathroom floor.”
She said “That was the only thing that was motivating me. I cannot be raped by this guy in this place. I learned to put your hard bones in soft fleshy places. So I just started beating the side of his head with the side of my hand. Being loud and not afraid. I mean you are afraid but letting him know, ‘you are not taking me down today. You are not going to win this fight.’”
She finished by saying she was “grateful to be alive.”
Gary Steiner has been described by the Seattle Police Department as a “danger to the community.”
The Daily Mail reports that, in a brief statement to the press, the police said: “His predatory attack on a female in the middle of the day represents a brazen willingness to assault without concern for getting caught.”
According to KIRO channel 7 news, Steiner has been charged with attempted rape and second-degree assault.
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