Hilliard Gym Stabbing Motivates Members To Fight Back

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UPDATED: Thursday April 3, 2014 11:01 AM

People are banding together to protect themselves after 25-year-old Rikki Whitaker was stabbed by an attacker as she got out of her car at a Hilliard gym.

Whitaker fought back and self-defense experts say it likely saved her life. The attack rattled the lives of people who go to the L.A. Fitness near Hilliard.

They're taking action by learning to better defend themselves.

"Visualize you're hitting someone until you feel safe and that's when you stop," instructed Endeavor Defensive Fitness Co-Owner, Robert McKeeman.

Instructors taught self-defense to several dozen women Wednesday night.

"It was definitely scary. It really hit close to home," said gym member, Kristina Mason.

They say they're taking the class because they don't want to be the next victim.

They're being taught where to hold, where to strike, and what to do if attacked.

"Anybody can scratch and scream and run, but if I do have to come into contact with somebody, I can handle myself," said gym member, Latricia Ratchford.

"Just armed with knowledge to know what to do in those stressful situation," said Mason.

While Whitaker is recovering from the stab wound, the women in the self-defense class say that dark moment shed a new light on what they can do to protect themselves.

"I don't think we would be united today if it wasn't for that situation," said Ratchford.

Columbus police say they're still looking for the man who stabbed Whitaker outside this gym.

Investigators said the suspect is described as a black man with a light complexion, 25 to 30 years old with short "buzzcut" style hair. Police said the man also has a tattoo on the left side of his neck. The suspect was believed to be driving a silver-colored, medium-sized automobile that has dark tinted windows.

Anyone with information regarding the identity of the suspect is asked to call the Columbus Police Homicide Unit at 614-645-4730 or 645-4624.

Read our previous story: http://www.10tv.com/content/stories/2014/03/22/columbus-police-release-description-of-LA-fitness-stabbing-suspect.html

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