Students waiting at a school bus stop on Monday morning took action when they saw an adult apparently trying to kidnap one of their classmates, intervening and ultimately foiling the would-be abduction attempt, police say.
Authorities said it all went down in Gaithersburg, Maryland, 20 miles north of Washington, D.C., when a 31-year-old man, identified as Jamaal Germany, allegedly pulled a child toward an apartment building.
“The suspect allegedly grabbed the child and pulled them toward an apartment building,” officials said in a news release. “Several students who were standing at the bus stop attempted to intervene, and the victim was able to break free. When the school bus arrived, all the students boarded the bus, and the incident was reported to school staff.”
Authorities say that when the school bus arrived, all the students were accounted for and boarded the bus before the incident was reported to school staff.
A community engagement officer also responded to the children’s school approximately 30 minutes after the reported attempted kidnapping incident.
Germany was booked into the Montgomery County Central Processing Unit. He faces charges of attempted kidnapping and second-degree assault, authorities said.
A student told Washington D.C.’s FOX 5 the man had what appeared to be a broken beer bottle.
“The man tried to grab the kid,” the student said. “He also grabbed the glass to convince the kid to come with him. Then he tried to grab him. But then some kids helped him, and the bus driver helped him get on the bus. And then when he got on the bus, he ran away.”
A neighbor told local NBC News affiliate WRC-TV that the suspect was doing the same thing at the bus stop last week. Another person told the outlet the man had been seen making threats days earlier.
Residents are terrified.
“How are they supposed to grow up here if they know they’ve got to look over their shoulder every five seconds,” one said.
Police said they would increase patrols around the bus stop in the days after the incident, according to the WRC report.
“I’m glad that he got caught, and it’s very brave children that helped their classmate,” another resident said.
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