It’s every parent’s worst nightmare: Two young children were playing in a park when a suspicious stranger grabbed them and tried to carry them away.
According to KABC News in Los Angeles, that’s exactly what happened on Monday in Lake Elsinore, California. Just before noon, a man allegedly tried to kidnap two boys in broad daylight — and he had a history of criminal actions.
“Police said 29-year-old Marcus Dewitt tried to grab a 3-year-old boy by the arm while the child was partially inside of a play apparatus at Rosetta Canyon Sports Park,” that outlet reported.
“When Dewitt was unsuccessful in taking that child, he picked up a 4-year-old boy and attempted to flee the area with the child,” KABC continued, citing police.
Dewitt was already a registered sex offender, although it’s unclear exactly what his past offenses were.
Luckily for the boy who was grabbed by Dewitt, parents were nearby and jumped into action. They chased after Dewitt and managed to grab the child back, prompting the offender to flee.
But he didn’t get far. “(A) family member of one of the victims subdued him,” KABC explained. “Other witnesses and family members also held him down and subdued him until police officers arrived and took him into custody.”
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Office Lake Elsinore station posted an account of the incident on Facebook:
When the officers finally did reach the scene, they arrested Dewitt on a kidnapping charge. Thankfully, neither of the boys involved in the incident were harmed.
“It was very brazen. For him to just come up and try to snatch a kid with all the parents around, it really makes me nervous as a parent,” Keli Wilcher, a mother who spends time at the park, told KABC
“They were nicer to him than I would have been,” Eric Aragon, another local man at the park, told the station.
While this incident ended with the suspect in handcuffs, it’s worth pointing out that police were nowhere nearby when the attempted kidnapping allegedly took place.
Nor would they be expected to be: Law enforcement officers simply can’t be everywhere all the time, leaving citizens to take action when seconds count.
That’s exactly why everyone should be vigilant and prepared. While voices who oppose self-defense and the right to bear arms often point to police as a reason for citizens to not worry, case after case shows that cops are often too late when shocking incidents occur.
Responsible Americans must have the tools they need to deal with crime when it breaks out, including training, non-lethal options like pepper spray, and legal handguns if the situation calls for it.
Every individual can be a first responder.
This attempted kidnapping is also a stark reminder that there is evil in the world, as uncomfortable as that is to admit. Ignoring reality does not make it disappear, and we should be honest about the dangers to adults and children without being dominated by constant fear.
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