A woman was reportedly stabbed while using a treadmill at a gym in Irving, Texas on Jan. 27.
Police received a phone call about a suspicious man carrying a suitcase at a 24 Hour Fitness at approximately 5:30 a.m., said spokesman James McLellan.
When police arrived, staff told them the man had a membership and often had a suitcase with him. Police left but were called back 20 minutes later after the stabbing.
“Her scream was so loud, even when I had the music on, I could hear her yell, and it really sounded like she was scared for her life,” gym member Yvette Perez told NBC 5.
The suspicious man had apparently attacked a random woman on a treadmill and stabbed her multiple times. Former police officer Justin Harper was on a treadmill nearby when he says he witnessed the attack and intervened.
“I noticed a lady who looked like she was falling off a treadmill and I noticed a black male — looked like he was grabbing her, and I thought he was helping her, but then he starts hitting her,” Harper recalled. “They fell down right in front of my treadmill where I was at… Then another guy came by and we both tackled him to the ground.”
The suspect was identified as 32-year-old Phillip Roberts. Harper said the man had a screwdriver on him.
“After they (police) handcuffed him and rolled him over there was a screwdriver sitting over there on his left hand side, which, when I grabbed his arm, that was the first arm I grabbed,” Harper continued.
The victim, whose name was not released, had three puncture wounds to her back and shoulder and was rushed to Parkland Memorial Hospital, police said. She is expected to survive.
The police believe it was a random attack. They said the victim and the suspect did not appear to know each other.
Officials from 24 Hour Fitness released a statement following the attack. “The safety and security of our members are of the utmost importance for 24 Hour Fitness, and we want everyone to have a positive experience each time they visit our clubs,” the statement read. “We are working closely with the police department in support of their investigation into the incident. As this is an active investigation, we are not able to disclose details. We are referring all questions to the Irving Police Department at 972-273-1010.”
Roberts will be charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He is currently in Dallas County Jail and police said they have no known motive for the attack at this time.