Two girls were rescued from an attempted kidnapping by members of a Florida church according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
The harrowing incident unfolded on Sunday just after 6 p.m. when the two girls left a restaurant in FishHawk Ranch but were followed by a man who was unknown to them.
The man was later identified as 37-year-old David Daniels, according to police who said he told the girls that he would "supervise" them leaving the restaurant.
“He did not know these children and these children definitely did not know him,” said Jessica Lang of the sheriff's office.
Lang said Daniels followed the two girls who used their bikes to ride to a nearby church.
“At this point, he’s following them out of the restaurant and starts to hit one of the children over the head and continues to follow them,” said Lang.
The girls went into a church to look for help, but the man followed them.
“Thankfully these children stuck together and rode their bikes to a nearby church and asked an adult for help,” Lang said.
At one point, the man put one of the girls into a headlock, according to police. He allegedly told the church members that they were his daughters, but they called 911 despite his protests.
One of the girls was able to mouth the words, "help us" to the church members.
“Members of this church really stepped up to protect children that were not theirs,” Lang continued. “They saw that something was wrong and they saved these children.”
When police arrived, they were able to apprehend the man a short distance from the church. They charged Daniels with child abuse and false imprisonment on a child. He is being held on a $104,000 bond at the Hillsborough County Jail.
Here's a local news report about the frightening incident:
Brandon man arrested for attempted child abduction in FishHawkwww.youtube.com