April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and nowhere was that better respected than in a citizen’s arrest that took place on Sunday thanks to an observant civilian who realized something happening nearby wasn’t right.
According to the Long Beach Post, it was during the very early hours of the morning on Sunday that an unnamed good Samaritan at a Denny’s spotted an interaction between a man and girl that flagged as suspicious.
After the individual rallied others nearby, the group of concerned good Samaritans confronted and detained the man until police arrived at about 1:39 a.m.
The suspect was identified as 33-year-old Jimmie Kirkwood. A Long Beach Police Department spokeswoman said the man was arrested on suspicion of “lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14 years old, assault with the intention to commit rape and false imprisonment,” according to KTTV.
By the time he was arrested, Kirkwood had also been stabbed multiple times, though authorities have not determined — or shared — when or how those wounds were inflicted.
“Through the preliminary investigation, officers determined a Good Samaritan became aware of the incident as it was occurring and sought help,” police said in a statement.
“Several citizens detained the suspect until LBPD arrived on scene. Officers contacted the suspect and discovered he had stab wounds on his body.
“At this time, it is unknown if the suspect sustained injuries during this incident or during an unrelated incident. The investigation to determine how he sustained the injuries is ongoing.”
Kirkwood was taken to the hospital before being arrested. His bail has been set at $100,000.
The good people who performed the citizen’s arrest are all nameless heroes, trusting their instincts and stepping in to protect the young girl from an even worse fate.
There are plenty of good resources available to help people recognize the warning signs of sexual assault/abuse in children, but even the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network emphasizes trusting your gut and observations if something seems “off.”
“The most important thing to keep in mind when looking for signs of child sexual abuse is to keep an eye on sudden changes in behavior,” their page on Warning Signs for Young Children reads.
“Trust your gut and don’t ignore your feelings if something seems off. If a child tells you that someone makes them uncomfortable, even if they can’t tell you anything specific, listen.
“If you suspect a child in your life may be experiencing sexual abuse, you can talk to someone who is trained to help. Call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) or chat online at online.rainn.org.”
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