Guardian Self Defense and Security Blog

Woman Uses Pepper Spray to Fend Off Attacker


Police officers in Altamonte Springs said
they're investigating an attack at a church.

Altamonte Springs police Officer Rob Pelton
said Assistant Church manager Kimberly Maag
had just unlocked the offices and heard a n
oise. She grabbed pepper spray and checked
various rooms but found nothing, police said.
Then as she came out of the ladies room, a
man described as 5 feet 7 inches, thin, with
large freckles on his face began beating her,
police said.

The woman fought and, with one hand free,
used pepper spray to escape the attack, police

She is recovering after what she described to
police as a fight for her life, shortly after she
came into work Tuesday morning. She got a
good look at her attacker and managed to help
police put together a composite sketch of the

"This is supposed to be a safe place," said
parishioner Ashley Dinnison.

"It's scary, really scary," said parishioner Rose

The parish office was closed when WESH 2
News arrived at St. Mary Magdalene Church.
An office staffer declined comment and said
the pastor would not be making any
statements about the assault on Maag.

"During the struggle, he pinned her hand down
and removed rings from her hand, during that
struggle he also said he would stab her and
reached behind his back implying that he had
a knife but she did manage to fight back, she
reached the pepper spray that she had gotten
out earlier, from her pocket, discharged it
striking him in the chest area and he fled the
scene," Pelton said.

Police said the victim did the right thing,
fighting as hard as she could.

"If someone is just making demands of you,
then give it to them. In this case, here, she was
physically attacked. She probably felt that she
was fighting for her life and she actually did
advertisement Police: Woman Attacked At Church
Composite Sketch Of Alleged Attacker Released the right thing. She was physically attacked
and she gave it right back, and ultimately was
able to escape," Pelton said.

While there are surveillance cameras on
property, it's unclear if they will reveal images
of the attacker.

"It was a good thing she's got her pepper
spray. I tell you, pepper spray comes in
handy," said neighbor Cathy Rapp.

A spokeswoman from the diocese asked for
people to pray for the victim of the attack, but
otherwise provided no other comment.

Parishioners said the man stole their sense of
peace at their sanctuary.

"I'm really shocked because she's such a nice
lady," said the victim's neighbor, Van Foster.
"In a church of all places, that's the last place
you would think something like that would

"It will come back to him. Someone will make
sure that comes out right," said parishioner
Julie Labelle.

Police said the victim believes the attacker may
be about 16 years old with a prominent
Adams' apple, freckles on his cheeks and
curly dark hair.

Anyone with information is asked to call the
Altamonte Springs Police Department or Crime
Line, at 800-423-TIPS.

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