A Seattle woman fought off a violent assault by a would-be attacker in a park’s ladies bathroom. The man, with an extensive criminal history, attacked her earlier this month while she was on a 10-mile jog.
Calling the attack her “worst jogging nightmare,” Kelly Herron, 36, said she yelled, “Not today, m—–f—–,” and fought valiantly to save her life, ABC’s Good Morning America reported.
Herron completed four of her 10-mile trek and stopped to use a ladies room in Seattle’s Golden Gardens Park. “As I was drying my hands, I became aware that something was wrong,” she told the ABC reporters. When she turned around, she saw what no woman wants to see in a ladies room–a man. The man, it turned out, is 40-year-old Arizona registered sex offender Gary Steiner, she said.
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. #fightingchanceseattle #ballard #runnersafety #marathontraining #womensselfdefense #myballard #fightlikeagirl #fightback #dontbeavictim #nottodaymotherfucker #youcantbreakme #instarunners #garmin #garminvivosmarthr
Recalling the harrowing assault, she said, “He immediately took me down to the ground, hit both my knees and legs, and then it was a fight on the bathroom floor, and I just kept screaming, ‘Not today, m—–f—–‘.” She said those words became her battle cry.
After attempting to lock herself in a stall, her attacker managed to break in, and he began beating her.
Fearing she was about to lose consciousness, Herron remembered her self-defense training. “I learned hard bones and soft fleshy places, so I just started hitting the side of his head,” she explained.
She began fighting back by scratching his face and punching him. “This doesn’t have to be a fair fight,” she recalled thinking. “All those little things that I learned in my life … how to punch and everything came back to me,” she recalled. “I started to feel like I was going to lose consciousness … but I got another surge of adrenaline, and I reached for the door and was able to get out.”
She eventually escaped from Steiner. With the help of a passerby, she used a carabiner to lock her attacker in the bathroom. They called the police who arrested Steiner–still locked inside the ladies room.
Police later learned Steiner has a long record of assaults on numerous women dating back to the 1990s, ABC reported. He is in jail pending a $750,000 bond on charges of attempted rape in the second degree and second-degree assault.
Herron sustained multiple bruises and cuts from her attacker. Her GPS tracker detailed her path, before and after the attack.
She told the reporters she has a new sense of confidence after fending off her attacker. She is continuing her training to run in the Seattle Rock and Roll Marathon scheduled for this summer.