Surveillance video captured the moment an 11-year-old girl fought off a would-be kidnapper at a bus stop.
The suspect, whom ABC News identified as 30-year-old Jared Paul Stanga, is in custody and facing charges of attempted kidnapping of a child under 12 as well as aggravated assault and battery.
What are the details?
The incident took place Tuesday morning at a Pensacola school bus stop.
The unnamed girl was waiting for the bus when the suspect drove up in a white Dodge Journey and reportedly tried to abduct her at knifepoint.
Surveillance video of the incident showed the moment the suspect left his vehicle parked on the side of the road and rushed the child. The child attempted to run, but the suspect overcame her and the two fell to the ground. At that point, the girl was able to wrest herself away from the suspect, snatch up her backpack, and run away. Entirely thwarted, the suspect then got back in his car and drove off.
The Escambia County Sheriff's Office said that deputies arrested Stanga that same day at his home.
"Deputies worked quickly to find the suspect, the sheriff said, searching for surveillance video, tracking down witnesses, and going house to house," ABC News reported. "About 50 deputies scoured the area, including on bicycle units."
Deputies were ultimately led to Stanga's home, where they found him wearing the same clothing that matched the description of the clothing worn in the surveillance video. His vehicle was also a match for the one officers sought.
Attempted kidnapping in West Pensacola www.youtube.com
'Caught the animal'
During a Tuesday press conference, Escambia County Sheriff Chip Simmons announced that deputies were able to catch the "animal" behind the attempted abduction.
"We are here to announce that we have caught the animal that tried to kidnap an 11-year-old girl this morning," Simmons announced. "At about seven o'clock this morning a white van pulled up to an 11-year-old girl, stopped the van, looked around, and then a man left that vehicle, ran toward the 11-year-old victim with something in his hand that is reported to be a knife."
Simmons added that the suspect "grabbed her, picked her up, and tried to carry her into that van."
"She fought, and she fought, and she fought, until finally, she was able to break free from her would-be captor," Simmons added.
The suspect reportedly has an expansive criminal history, including a previous charge involving a sex offense with a child, Simmons revealed.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Simmon hailed the young girl as a hero.
"We applaud the efforts and the resilience of an 11-year-old girl," he said. "She did the right thing — she fought and she fought and she fought and she never gave up. And then she went straight to her parents which she should have done, told her parents what was going on, who in turn contacted the Escambia County Sheriff's Office."
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