While Kelly Herron was running around Seattle, Washington, a 40-year-old sex offender by the name of Gary Steiner leaped out and attempted to assault her. As recounted by Herron herself, she had stopped at one point during her jog to use the restroom when Steiner stealthily appeared behind her while she was washing her hands after using the facilities.
With no remorse, Steiner seized Herron and violently flung them to the ground as if they were locked in a heated wrestling match. While he had her pinned down, he utilized his superior strength to prevent her from escaping, throwing punches at her continuously and bellowing in sheer rage hitting directly into her face. After cornering her in the public park’s bathroom facility, Steiner attempted to rape Herron.
Fortunately, Herron had recently taken a self-defense class. She said that the techniques she learned saved her from Steiner’s attempted assault just three weeks later. With the help of what she learned in class, Herron was able to use her expertise and fight off this sex offender and prevent him from raping her.
“My biggest running nightmare became a 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,” Herron posted on Instagram. “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 the police arrived. Thankfully I just took a self-defense class offered at my work and used all of it. My face is stitched, my body is bruised, but my spirit is intact.”
Thanks to her quick thinking and courage, Herron was able to outwit Steiner, who was later apprehended by the police. He has been indicted for attempted rape in the second degree as well as assault with sexual motivation in the second degree. Upon his arrest, he confessed that he had been waiting inside a restroom while two other women used it; however, instead of attacking them as intended, chose Herron as his victim instead.
“The defendant represents a severe danger to the community,” the police report read. “His predatory attack on a female in the middle of the day represents a brazen willingness to assault without concern for getting caught.”
Herron will always be thankful for the self-defense class and how it has positively impacted their life.
“I’m really grateful I survived,” Herron stated. “I was screaming at him … being loud and not afraid. I mean, you are afraid, but let him know you are not taking me down today. You are not going to win this fight.”
Steiner’s sordid history of sexual misconduct stretches back more than two decades. In 1999, he was found guilty of sexually exploiting several women in Arizona. Only eight years later, the court held him accountable for indecent exposure followed by criminal mischief with a deadly weapon conviction in Clark County, Washington six years after that.