Police are searching for a suspect who tried to grab a woman as she was loading items in her car outside the Walmart store in Oak Park.
The attempted kidnapping happened at about 11:15 a.m. Wednesday in front of the store in the 3400 block of College Avenue.
The man wrapped his arms around the woman's neck, covered her mouth and tried to drag her off, said San Diego police Lt. Christian Sharp. The woman's 3-year-old grandson was in the van at the time.
The woman struggled and screamed and the man ran off, police said. The child wasn't hurt in the ordeal.
San Diego police say the suspect jumped over a guardrail to the freeway toward Federal Boulevard. Officers were sweeping the Lemon Grove area Wednesday afternoon.
Police are also reviewing surveillance video in hopes of tracking down a photo of the suspect.
He is described as in his late 30s, 5 feet 7 inches to 5 feet 9 inches tall, dark skinned with tattoos on his neck, chest and both arms. He was wearing a black T-shirt and orange shorts.
This Walmart location, just north of State Route 94, is the same place where a man fired three shots inside the store a year ago, leading customers to flee for the exits.
Police believe the gunman had been involved in a robbery there six months prior.
Wednesday's case initially was reported as an attempted kidnapping of a 3-year-old girl. However, police later clarified the kidnapper had targeted the mother and they weren't even sure the suspect knew the child was in the car.