A man attempted to kidnap a 3-year-old girl Sunday afternoon as the child was walking with her mother in a residential neighborhood near the University of San Diego, police said.
Katy Lewis was leaving her house to go to the store, pulling her daughter, Autumn, in a wagon close behind just before 5 p.m. Sunday.
When the two neared the 5100 block of Savanah Street in the Morena area, a man reportedly tried to take Lewis’ daughter, according to the San Diego Police Department.
“I hear my daughter yelling and screaming around, so I turn around, and I noticed this man trying to take her, and he, kind of, second guessed himself, and I went straight for him,” Lewis told NBC 7. “He was trying to grab her from the wagon.”
Lewis said she punched the man “two or three times in the face,” causing him to fall down. “I attacked him,” she said.
“It’s more like adrenaline, so I wasn’t really thinking about what I needed to do, I was more so reacting,” she said.
The suspect then fled westbound on Cushman Avenue in an older model Honda Civic Coupe, police said.
Lewis said her daughter’s yelling was what “she was taught to do” in situations like this.
“We don’t expect something like that to happen here,” Lewis said. “I hear about it in movies and stuff, but I never thought that something could happen so fast.”
Lewis said she didn’t recognize the car the suspect drove off in, mentioning that she generally recognizes homeowners’ cars and any consistent guests in the area.
“It’s scary because it was in broad daylight, and so, brazen, so it makes me concerned that he would just do it again,” Lewis told NBC 7.
Lewis said police began asking nearby residents and stores for any possible security footage of the incident or the suspect.
The man was described as a being in his early 20s, approximately 5 feet 4 inches tall with short brown hair.
He was last seen wearing dark blue jeans, blue high-stop sneakers similar in style to Reebok tennis shoes.
Anyone with any information on the attempted kidnapping was urged to contact the San Diego Police Department at (619) 531-2000 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-TIPS.