Atlanta teacher says homeless man tried to rape, strangle her in broad daylight in Buckhead neighborhood

ATLANTA, Ga. — A metro Atlanta teacher who survived a horrific attack and attempted rape in broad daylight is describing the terrifying moment she thought she was going to die.

Channel 2′s Michael Seiden was in Buckhead, where he talked to the victim. The teacher and mother of two did not want to be identified, but said the man who attacked her was homeless.

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Laquai Barrett has since been charged with multiple felonies including attempted rape and kidnapping.

The victim said the attack happened around 7:15 a.m. Thursday on Peachtree Ave. when she went on a walk with her dog. She was near Atlanta International School when noticed a stranger headed her way.

“He didn’t say anything,” she said. “He was just watching me.”

Barrett confronted her just behind the gates to her neighborhood, just feet from her home, she said.

The victim said she was entering the code to her gated community when Barrett snuck up behind her, grabbed her by the hoodie and threw her to the ground.

“HE jumped on me like a leopard,” she said. “Jumped me and grabbed my hoodie around my neck and dragged me to my garage.”

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The victim showed Seiden the bruises and cuts she sustained all over her body after he dragged her into her garage and tried to strangle her.

“He had a rope in his pocket,” she said. “He put the rope around my neck. I knew that if he got that rope around me, I’d be strangled.”

The victim said she kept screaming that she couldn’t breathe and telling him about her family to try to reason with him.

She eventually got free and ran inside where she set off her alarm. The suspect followed her.

“And that’s when my alarm went off full force,” she said. “I looked at him and I said, ‘The police will be here in one minute.’”

Barrett ran away, but not before stealing the victim’s phone.

Police were able to use the “Find My Friends” app on the victim’s home to track him to Garden Hills Park between Peachtree and Piedmont roads, where the found Barrett hiding in the boys’ bathroom.

The victim said it took four cops and a Taser to take him into custody.

The victim told Seiden that fighting him off makes her feel empowered.

“I didn’t give up,” she said. “I tried everything. I tried to reason with him. I told him I had a family. I fought. I was not going to let myself be a victim.”

She said she just doesn’t want this to happen to anyone else.

“Nobody should have to go through this. It was horrible,” she said. “I keep playing it in my head. I hear him saying terrible things to me, what he did to my body.”

The victim’s lawyers are pushing for an attempted murder charged to be added to Barrett’s list of felonies as well.

Seiden looked into Barrett’s history and found another violent incident in 2016, when he beat a woman with a skateboard on a MARTA train.

The 26-year-old victim said she was just minding her own business when Barrett attacked her.

MARTA police arrested him and charged him with aggravated assault and criminal trespassing. He pled guilty to those charges and was given probation, according to court records.

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