A man is in police custody after he tried to take two children from an Otay Mesa West recreation center, telling witnesses "I have to do this," San Diego Police say.
The 26-year-old man entered the Silver Wing Rec Center at 3737 Arey Drive on Friday. Police say he grabbed a 9-year-old boy and tried to walk away, but a coach stopped him.
The man put the child down, but soon after, another 9-year-old boy was in his clutches. When he tried to escape a second time with the boy, a coach and an off-duty federal agent confronted him.
He told them, "I have to do this," police say, but they refused to let him.
The agent and several people standing by got into a fight with the suspect, forcing him to release the child.
They held him until police came to arrest the man. The children were not injured, the SDPD says.
Before the kidnapping attempt, the suspect was first spotted across the street when he walked into at a house under construction.
The owner, who did not want to be identified, said the man made some strange statements.
"He said, 'I'm sorry. I made a mistake.' He used a couple of words and then he said, 'I'm going to die, I'm a dead man,'" the woman said. "He was scaring me, and I told the guy who was here for cabinets, 'I don't know this guy. Don't leave me.'"
She asked two construction workers to kick the man out, so he walked over to the rec center.
The incident is under investigation.