Bikini barista describes surviving violent attack at coffee stand

KENT, Wash. — Madeline Guinto has made a living as a bikini barista at the same Kent stand for nine years.

"In all that time, I've had a gun pointed at me one time," she said. "One armed robbery."

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What happened to Guinto at 4:45 a.m. Tuesday forced her to make life and death choices. An attacker jumped into the stand and pressed a knife against her throat -- ordering her to leave the stand with him.

"He kept telling me, 'you're coming with me or I will kill you','' she said. "I was keeping as calm as I could be, but I was thinking I'm going to die trying to live. I'm going to die fighting," she said.

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Guinto said she held onto the stand and forced the attacker to drag her. She said she wrestled him for his knife after he threw her to the ground in a nearby alley.

"I know for a fact that I'm a lot stronger than I look, so when he was choking me, I knew to just tense up and put my shoulders up, even if I was getting a little bit of air, I could wave my arms back and forth on the ground, feeling for the knife," Guinto said.

Guinto believes the attacker was spooked by the vehicle headlights of a customer that pulled into the barista stand's drive-through, and he ran. On Wednesday morning, the suspect's boss told KIRO-7 he called 911 when he recognized the image of the attacker in surveillance video from news coverage.

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Kent police arrested 33-year-old Michael Reynolds wearing the same clothing seen in surveillance video. The Washington State Department of Corrections told KIRO-7 that Reynolds had recently finished a 12-year prison sentence for robbery and burglary.

"I'm so glad he's off the street," Guinto said. "This guy did not expect me to fight back. He didn't expect me to be as strong as I am. That's why I hope this would encourage other women to be ready. Don't work out just because you want to be skinny or fit into that bikini. You work out to be strong so you can fight back."

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