A woman who fought off a man who was allegedly trying to rape her outside of her Van Nuys apartment complex last month spoke out during a news conference Tuesday announcing the suspect’s arrest.
The woman, who did not want to be identified, said she was able to fight the man off because she had taken self-defense classes.
“I did my best,” she said. “I was defending myself the entire time.”
She added that she didn't feel "terrified" because she knew she was in a fight or flight situation.
She said she hopes find out what the motive behind the attack was and that she finds closure.
“I don’t understand, that’s what gets me kind of upset, even to this day,” she said.
LAPD officials said they arrested Antonio Reyes, 27, of Arleta, in connection with the Aug. 12 incident. He was taken into custody Tuesday as he was leaving his job in Van Nuys.
The attack occurred about 5:30 a.m. on Aug. 12 in the 14000 block of Vanowen Street and the incident was caught on surveillance video.
The 35-year-old victim was returning home from getting a coffee when Reyes, who apparently was hiding in the bushes, came out and began speaking to her in Spanish.
The woman asked Reyes to leave her alone when he blocked her pathway several times. He eventually managed to get her on the ground and took off her pants and panties.
The victim is seen in surveillance video engaging in a scuffle with Reyes. He eventually got away when the woman started screaming for help.
Tips from the public led police to a taxi driver who picked Reyes up later that morning.
According to LAPD, people driving and walking near the incident witnessed the attack, but did not call 911. A woman seen in the surveillance video walking by the scene has not been identified, officials said.
Capt. Lillian Carranza said she considered the victim a hero. The woman thanked investigators and the community for helping solve the crime.
Police believe Reyes many have other victims.
Anyone with information about the crime or Reyes can call Van Nuys area detectives at 818-374-9500.