Merritt Island woman fights off attacker, runs into him next day at grocery store

MERRITT ISALND, Fla. — A Merritt Island woman who was grabbed from behind and dragged into the woods on Tuesday refused to give up without a fight, investigators said.

Deputies said the woman managed to escape her attacker and then spotted him again the next day, and the chance encounter led to the arrest of Asa Cook, 26.

The woman said she was taking a walk when the man called her over.

She said she kept walking, and moments later she heard the sound of feet shuffling behind her. The woman said the man grabbed her and pulled her into a wooded area on Alma Boulevard.

Deputies said she managed to fight him off and made her way to a nearby convenience store to call 911.

“I just got pulled into the woods by my neck,” the woman said to a 911 operator.

“OK. Do you know who it was?” asked the operator.

“Yeah. I know who it was, but I don't know his name,” she said.

The next day, deputies said the woman saw the man at a neighborhood grocery store where several customers and employees recognized him as a regular, known to them as "Asa."

The woman called to 911 again.

“I had somebody that tried to pull me in the woods and they're up here right now,” she told the operator.

“We're really grateful that this one was able to be concluded as quickly as it could with a positive outcome,” said Cpl. David Jacobs of the Brevard County Sheriff's Office.

The sheriff's office said it’s investigating a similar incident reported by another woman in the same area.

Cook had been released from prison in October, months before the attack, deputies said.