Bystander Pulls Out Gun, Stops Man From Kidnapping Girl: Police
USZachary Stieber

An Arizona man pulled out a gun and stopped a man from kidnapping an 11-year-old girl, police officials said.

The suspect approached the girl from behind as she was walking to school in Phoenix near 19th Avenue and Union Hills Road, according to the Phoenix Police Department. The man grabbed her arm and pulled it behind her back while putting his arm over her face.

When he started talking to the girl, a witness knocked him down and told him to leave her alone.

The bystander then pulled out a handgun, pointing it at the suspect and telling him to go away.

“They told us somebody from the north side of this block intervened and stopped the guy from abducting the little girl,” neighbor Don George told 3 TV. “Congratulations, you get an award for this my friend.”

The suspect fled westbound on Morningside Drive.

The girl’s father told the outlet that his daughter is scared but unharmed. He said he would be driving her to school after what happened. The man said that the attempted kidnapping took place on April 3 and that his daughter told her teacher the next day.

The suspect was described as a black male with very dark complexion, green eyes, and a stud-style nose ring in his left nostril. Phoenix police officials said they plan to release a composite sketch of the suspect soon.

Anyone with information was asked to call the Phoenix Police Department at 602-5345-2121 or Silent Witness at 480-837-8446.

Neighbors who heard of what happened told Fox 10 they were surprised.

“I’m kind of shocked at it, really,” said one person.

“Normally, that doesn’t happen in this kind of neighborhood. As you can tell, it’s kind of quiet,” said another resident.

The police department said there are increased patrols in the area.

Arizona is an open carry state, which means residents can carry a firearm openly as long as the person meets all the requirements.

Kidnapping

The number of reported missing children significantly decreased in recent years, according to a report by the Department of Justice (pdf) in 2017. Reported missing children dropped from 6.5 per 1,000 children in 1999 to 3.1 per 1,000 in 2013.

Missing children typically fall into five categories: kidnapped by a family member, abducted by a nonfamily perpetrator, runaways, those who got lost, stranded, or injured, or those who went missing due to benign reasons, such as misunderstandings, according to the report.

Department of Justice researchers said in a separate report (pdf) published in 2016 that there were an estimated 105 children nationwide that were victims of stereotypical kidnappings, a number that was virtually the same as 1997. “Most kidnappings involved the use of force or threats, and about three in five victims were sexually assaulted, abused, or exploited, the researchers said.

Stereotypical kidnappings are defined as abductions in which a slight acquaintance or stranger moves a child at least 20 feet or holds the child at least 1 hour. Most victims were girls aged 12 to 17 and most perpetrators were men aged 18 to 35.