She said that her battle cry throughout the fight was, "Not today, motherf***er!"
Kelly Herron, a 36-year-old jogger that lives in Seattle, was on a regular run through Golden Gardens Park last week when she stopped after 4 miles to use the public restroom. Since she’s training for a marathon, she’s used to running long-distance and certainly has athletic strength that helped her when she encountered a horrible situation on that fateful day.
“As I was drying my hands, I became aware that something was wrong,” she said.
When she turned around, a man was standing behind her in the bathroom and, according to Herron, immediately began attacking her. The assailant, Gary Matthew Steiner, was a registered sex offender in Arizona and would certainly have sexually assaulted Herron if it weren’t for her quick thinking.
“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, motherf***er!'” she said.
Though his attack on her was swift and brutal, not to mention he likely had more strength and weight on him than she did, Herron had just taken a self-defense class offered by her work within the past few weeks. She recalled that during the attack she remembered what she learned in the class and “utilized all of it.”
This was no easy fight, but Herron persisted in her counterattack and was able to fight Steiner off. She said that at one point, she threw herself into a stall and tried to use her foot to kick the door lock shut, but that it jammed and Steiner entered from the side.
He came at her in the stall and “started beating me in the face with his hand.”
She suddenly realized that the fight didn’t have to be fair and that she just needed to get out of his grasp through whatever means possible, so she began clawing at his face.
“All those little things that I learned in my life … how to punch and everything came back to me,” she said. “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.”
Herron was able to lock Steiner inside of the bathroom by shutting the door and using a carabiner that an outside passerby offered as she yelled for help. When the police arrived, they discovered Steiner had a history of sexual assault dating back to the 1990s and that Herron was lucky to have made it out, although she wasn’t unscathed. On Instagram, she said:
“My face is stitched, my body is bruised, but my spirit is intact.”
She posted a photo collage online that included a screenshot from her GPS, which tracked her movements during that battle with Steiner and tell a story of what she endured.
Steiner also endured a beating from Herron, as his mug shot shows his bandaged face from where Herron scratched and punched him. He’s being held in jail on $750,000 bail and faces several charges related to the assault, including attempted rape.
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