Man Stabs Woman With Screwdriver at Gym: Irving Police

Police are investigating after woman was stabbed while exercising inside an Irving gym.

Officers were first called to the 24-Hour Fitness at 2407 West Airport Freeway at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday for a suspicious person.

Irving Police Spokesman James McLellan said someone reported a man with a suitcase inside the gym. Staff at the gym told police the man had a membership and often carried the suitcase, so officers left, according to McLellan. Officers were called back about 20 minutes later to investigate the stabbing.

Witnesses said the woman was using a treadmill when the suspect, identified as 32-year-old Phillip Roberts, attacked her from behind.

“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,” said gym member Yvette Perez. “I mean, I can only imagine.”

Justin Harper, a former police officer who currently works as a reserve officer for the Blue Mound Police Department was on a treadmill nearby. He, along with other gym members, pinned the suspect to the ground.

“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 said. “They fell down right in front of my treadmill where I was at so when I saw him start hitting her. Then another guy came by and we both tackled him to the ground.”

Harper said he discovered the man had a screwdriver when police arrived.

“After they 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 said.

Police believe this to be a random attack. They say the suspect and the victim did not know each other.

The victim, whose name has not been released, sustained three puncture wounds to her back and shoulder, and was rushed to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas for treatment. Police expect her to survive.

In a statement released Tuesday, 24 Hour Fitness officials said: 

"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. 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 discuss details. We are referring all questions to the Irving Police Department at 972-273-1010."

Roberts was transferred to the Dallas County Jail late Tuesday evening and will be charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The investigation into the stabbing continues.

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