Vargas: What would you do if suddenly attacked

By Joe Vargas

The woman was working alone at the Mon Beau Bebe store in Irvine Saturday evening when a man entered the store.

When the woman looked away, the man grabbed her by the hair and attempted to drag her into a storage room.

The victim resisted and yelled that there were video surveillance cameras in the store.

The man released her and ran out of the store and through the shopping center, police said. The suspect was indeed captured on surveillance cameras, which Irvine PD released Monday in an effort to identify and apprehend the suspect.

The incident has generated significant traction on Irvine social media forums and in the news media. And Irvine Police arrested the suspect, Charlie Choi, 47, Monday about 4:30 p.m. at his Irvine home.

Kudos to the woman for her quick thinking.

In another case in March, a 36-year-old Kelly Herron stopped to use a restroom in a Seattle park while out on run. As she was washing her hands, a suspect came out of a stall and knocked her to the ground. In an interview with Runner’s World Magazine Herron explained, “Time stopped, the room became bigger and my life flashed before my eyes.” Herron fought her assailant, screaming “not today motherf***er.”

Instagram post by Kelly Herron

She then proceeded to go into full survival mode.

Using techniques she learned in a self-defense class she had taken just weeks earlier, Ms. Herron was able to not only fight off her attacker but caused him some pretty decent injuries.

If you to find yourself in these scenarios, how would you react?

Here are some of tips:

  • Situational awareness is critical. No matter what your surroundings, be aware of the people around you. An attack can happen anywhere at any time. Even those places where you feel safe. This even includes the driveway of your own home.
  • Avoid high risk situations, including going out with people or being alone with people you don’t know. Consuming excessive amounts of alcohol or drugs can also put you at greater risk.
  • Take a self-defense class. There are numerous classes offered through park and recreation programs and martial arts studios. A little skill can make a big difference. Practice the techniques.
  • If you should get attacked, scream like crazy. You need to draw attention to yourself and hopefully startle your attacker.
  • Think, “will to survive.” Your desire to survive your situation must be the priority. That means anything goes, including gouging, biting and utilizing anything you can as a weapon. I recall one case where a woman was attacked and managed to bite the tip of her attackers nose off. That ended the assault.
  • Consider keeping pepper gas in your hand when you’re out and about. It can be very effective.