A man’s attempt to kidnap a 10-year-old girl on Feb. 24 was stopped by a group of students who witnessed the abduction happening and threw rocks at the would-be-kidnapper.
Tyrone Ferguson, 36, was reportedly pulling the young girl away by her hair when the other students interfered.
The 10-year-old girl and her eight-year-old brother were walking to Mary McLeod Bethune School in North Philadelphia when Ferguson, wearing all black clothing, black gloves, and a black ski mask, is said to have approached them.
He allegedly told the children to “come here,” and grabbed the boy’s backpack.
The boy’s sister then rushed over and freed him, at which point Ferguson reportedly grabbed the girl’s hair and pulled her towards him.
“Ultimately that male let go of the young male child and then attacked the female and tried to take her…as well,” said Philadelphia Police Special Victims Unit Capt. John Darby.
The suspect was knocked down when other children began throwing rocks at him. The suspect then fled, and the girl escaped from his hold.
The children reported the incident to the school, and the school contacted the police.
Darby said that the police force, recognizing “the threat level,” began working almost immediately. Darby described Ferguson’s behavior as bold, noting that it “definitely creates a threat to that community.”
Ferguson’s record includes a slew of previous convictions, including drug incidents and time served in 2001 for corruption of a minor.
As police presence increased in the area, Ferguson, who lives nearby the school, was quickly identified as a suspect; one of the alleged victims also recognized him. On Feb. 25, the day after the attempted kidnapping, Ferguson turned himself into the Special Victims Unit.
According to police, he had a cut on his forehead, which could have been caused by the kids throwing rocks at him.
He now faces counts of robbery, attempted kidnapping, false imprisonment, simple assault, luring a child and related counts. A court date was set on Monday; because he was unable to post 10 percent of his $500,000 bail, he has remained behind bars since his arrest.
Nonetheless, Ferguson’s friends and neighbors maintain that they’ve got the wrong man. One neighbor insists Ferguson only turned himself in because he was scared and felt pressure from the police.
“That ain’t him!” said one of his neighbors. “That ain’t his character. I know him. He don’t drive no car. This is his neighborhood.”