TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A woman was walking through Tampa’s upscale Hyde Park neighborhood just before 7 a.m. Friday when she noticed a woman in a car trying to get her attention.
“I had my AirPods in, and a woman slowed her car down next to me and she was aggressively pointing behind me and she was saying, ‘Run,'” said the woman who is only being identified as “Taylor.”
Taylor says as soon as the woman got her attention, she started to run because she saw a large man coming at her.
“I said ‘No, no’ and he just laughed, and I took off running and he took off after me and I screamed as loud as I could, ‘Help,” Taylor recalled.
Before she could get away from the man, he grabbed her.
“He was just coming at me, laughing and he ended up grabbing my pony tail and threw me down and he punched me repeatedly and was laughing,” she added.
At that time, Tampa attorney Charles McKeon and his son noticed what was going on.
“I saw a woman down on the sidewalk and she was either in a seated, or kneeling position and a man just repeatedly striking her in the face and head. I mean, just whaling on her,” McKeon recalled.
The attorney carries a concealed weapon, and pulled his gun out and yelled at the attacker to stop. Instead, the man turned on McKeon.
“He came at me and he hit me in the head. I fell backwards, hit the back of my head on the sidewalk and things got a little blurry at that point,” McKeon said.
At that time, his son then stepped in and the man turned and left the area.
“I saw him strike my dad and then I saw my dad on the ground and he looked pretty disjointed and out of it,” Dalton McKeon recalled.
Dalton then ran to his father, thinking his life was in danger.
The man, later identified as Esja Nodopa, left the area, but was soon arrested by Tampa police.
Nodopa was charged with with aggravated battery with great bodily harm. An arrest report says he is homeless, and only has a Mexican ID with no known ties to Tampa.
The victim says Charles McKeon and his son saved her life.
“They didn’t know what the situation was, they just knew I was being beaten and they came out and put themselves at risk and I’m just speechless and overwhelmingly grateful,” Taylor said.
McKeon says this story is a warning for everyone.
“This woman had no responsibility for what happened. She was not even partially at fault for what happened—she was minding her own business, out for a jog in broad daylight when she was attacked for no reason. So, this could happen to anyone. So, people just need to be diligent in being aware of their surroundings,” said McKeon.