JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A woman watering the flowers outside her Westside home was recently attacked and forced inside the home by a stranger. She said she credits her instincts and calm nature with helping her fend off the attacker.
The assault happened at Nancy Renda's house in the 9300 block of 103rd Street.
Renda became a victim of a crime while in her own front yard. She told Channel 4 she had been watering her flowers -- something she does every day -- when out of nowhere a man walked up to her.
"I said, 'Sir, you're lost. You must have the wrong address, you know.' That's when he shoved me in the house," Renda said.
Once in the house, Renda said the man kept shoving her. With his hands around her neck, the suspect forced Renda into the kitchen, where Renda grabbed a knife for protection and a phone to call 911.
She said ran to the back of the house and barricaded herself in a bedroom.
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office booking photo of Steven Montoya
"I knew he was going to hurt me. I knew he was going to hurt me -- being very evil and very mean. He shoved me," Renda said.
Renda said she stayed armed and locked in the bedroom until police arrived and told her it was safe to come out.
"Because her survival instincts kicked in, we have a good ending to this story," said Jacksonville Sheriff's Office spokesman Ken Jefferson.
Investigators arrested the suspect, Steven Montoya. Renda said he had taken all of his clothes off and was sitting naked on her sofa when police found him.
After her ordeal, Renda said she had a warning for all women who most likely feel safe outside their homes like once she did.
"My message is be as calm as you can. I guess I was blessed with that because I was able to do that, and it was a situation I never thought I'd be in in my life," Renda said.