CINCINNATI — Kelly Huber thought the young man wandering past her picnic table Monday morning might have been lost, she said. She was having a cigarette outside the IBEW-NECA Electrical Training Center, where she's worked for 22 years and where the sight of confused would-be applicants isn’t unusual. She called out to him.
“He just charged me,” she said Monday night. “He came around, grabbed me by the neck.”
He didn’t seem intoxicated, she added. Just angry. According to Huber, he held her at knifepoint and told her to get in her car. He didn’t tell her where she’d be going — just that he’d be coming along.
The feeling of that moment was pure terror, Huber said. She didn’t let it paralyze her. Instead, she jammed her lit cigarette backward, toward her attacker’s thigh, and screamed.
“It wasn’t a conscious thought,” she said. “I found out I was a fighter. I wasn’t thinking, ‘I have to fight.’ I was just fighting.”
The man let her go, but he took her keys first. Police found her car Monday afternoon on Mohawk Avenue in Over-the-Rhine, the knife sitting in its passenger seat.
The suspect was gone. Security cameras at the training center had captured images of a man with light-brown dreadlocks and black goatee carrying an orange messenger bag, but none clearly recorded his face.
Huber said she hopes he’ll be found, arrested and — maybe — inspired to take a closer look at his own life.
“There is a better way to live,” she said. “You know, for whatever reason, he’s chosen this path. Maybe he should choose a different one.”
She added the attack can’t make her feel unsafe at her longtime workplace, where she recently returned after a bout with breast cancer. But she won’t be sitting outside early in the morning anymore, either.
“Nothing like this has ever remotely happened to me before,” she said. “I’m glad to know that I’m a fighter, because I didn’t know.”
Police encouraged anyone with information about the suspect or the attack to Crime Stoppers at 513-352-3040.