BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - A Louisiana woman was brutally attacked while visiting a Biloxi casino in March. Now, she is telling her story, hoping it will help other women avoid similar situations.
Summer Baham said she was getting into her car in the parking garage at the Hard Rock when she was attacked on March 23. The 29-year-old mother of two was in Biloxi for a friend's bachelorette party.
The two are seen smiling in a picture together not long before her attack. Mere hours after snapping that photo, Summer's face looked very different.
"I called my husband," she said, recalling that awful night. "I was crying, screaming. He didn't know what the heck happened to me. It's almost like a daze. You can remember things, but it's not solid."
Here's what Summer does remember about that night. It was late. She was leaving the casino around 3:45 a.m. and had just stepped off the elevator in the parking garage.
She picks up the story from there: "I was on the phone with my husband and told him I'd call him when I get to the hotel and hung up. I passed my attacker and his friend at the column. Before I could get into my vehicle, he had turned around in the parking lot and ran straight to me. He held my door open. As soon as he got in, he just started hitting me."
When asked if she remembers getting hit, she said, "I do. Every single blow. I got hit three times in the face and three or four times on the side of the neck, every time I turned to escape the blows to the face.
Like always, Summer Baham was prepared. She says she was armed.
"I had a gun under my feet, I left it in my car. It was literally within a few inches of me, but I couldn't get to it. I was ambushed. He didn't have a care in the world. Whatever he was going for, he was going to get it."
Forty-five seconds of terror. For Summer, it felt like an eternity.
She fought back as much as possible. It wasn't enough. Finally, the assault stopped as quickly as it had started.
When she opened her eyes, all she could see was blood.
"I had my hand cupped, catching the blood coming out of my nose," explained Summer. "There was blood everywhere; on the steering wheel, inside the door frame, even across my car on the passenger door."
Summer called the police. They already knew about the attack thanks to two witnesses who had dialed 911. She's convinced they were the ones who scared off her attacker.
"There's no telling what would have happened had it continued. They saved me."
And though it seems her attacker got away empty-handed, Summer says he took something much more valuable.
"It's gone. He's taken my independence away. I can't do anything on my own. I can't go into parking lots alone. I'm scared to death, break into a panic attack. I have to have someone with me just to go grocery shopping now."
She is more cautious than ever before, constantly checking her surroundings.
"I also have a stun gun now. So if I can't get to you with a gun, I can put you down now at least. I wish I would have had it that night."
Forty-five seconds forever changed Summer's life. And now, she's hoping her lesson learned, will help prevent others from enduring the same pain.
"I feel like it's my fault. I should have never been there alone. The only thing I can say is, don't go anywhere alone. Have a buddy system if you're out. It's just so much that can happen, and it's just not worth it. It messes your whole life up, your whole demeanor... everything."
As for her alleged attacker, surveillance video from the parking garage helped Biloxi police identify the suspect. Police found Alexander Stewart of Gautier in Scott County April 27th, more than a month after Summer's attack. He was brought back to Biloxi that same day and charged with simple assault.
According to Biloxi Municipal Court, Stewart never went to jail. Instead, a judge issued him a recognizance bond, meaning he didn't pay anything; he just has to show up to his court date, which is May 14.