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Woman says she was sexually assaulted inside an elevator at the Independence Heights H-E-B

HOUSTON – A woman says she was sexually assaulted inside an elevator ar the Independence Heights HEB.

Julie Anna Collins said she was finishing up her grocery shopping in the two-story HEB and headed to her car. Collins said she didn’t think much about taking the elevators.

“The buggy escalator was down so I had to go to the elevators,” Collins said.

As she approached the elevator, Collins said she noticed there was a man there with a white skateboard.

“Within that 45 seconds of me being in the elevator, the guy with the skateboard came up right behind me and grabbed me from behind,’’ Collins said.

She said she attempted to fight back and get away from the man.

"Started punching him in the head and kicking him,” Collins said.

Another man came to Collins’ aid and pushed his cart against the man attacking her. Then, Collins started to scream for help and that’s when she said the man who attacked her ran off.

“It was all very shocking. I felt violated he was repeating a name to me saying Jabario, Jabario,’” Collins said.

She said customers and H-E-B staff immediately jumped in to help and called police.

“If you have to go inside an elevator, don’t be afraid to ask for assistance, don’t be afraid to ask for a male employee of the store to assist you,” Collins said.

She said this terrifying incident has turned into a learning experience for her.

“I plan on taking some self-defense classes and being aware of what to do next time because I would like to be able to lay him out and get him arrested so he doesn’t get away,” Collins said.

H-E-B released a statement in response to Sunday’s incident:

“We are committed to providing a safe environment for customers and greatly regret that this incident occurred at H-E-B. We are fully cooperating with the Houston Police Department in their investigation. Since this is now a police matter, we must refer all inquiries to HPD Police are looking into surveillance video in hopes of identifying the suspect. Anyone with information should call the police.”