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Elementary School Teacher Thwarts Would-Be Child Abductor In Riverside

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RIVERSIDE (CBSLA.com) — An elementary school teacher Wednesday thwarted the possible abduction of two young girls in Riverside.

Officials say the two girls are safe.

It’s a story you will only see on KCAL9.

The incident happened Wednesday morning less than two blocks from the Arlanza Elementary School in Riverside.

“I was just panic struck for the kids and I just got up there as fast as I could. I thought we’ve got to get this animal off these girls,” said Chuck Doolittle, a 3rd grade teacher at Arlanza.

Doolittle was driving near the school when he says he saw a man chasing two young girls down the street –grabbing at them as they screamed for help.

“Myself and another gentleman we got him off of them,” Doolittle said, “He got off of them when he saw us because we were right next to him. He had his arms completely wrapped around one of the girls.”

Doolittle got out of his car and put himself between the girls and their assailant — he told them to run to school. Doolittle stayed behind and called 911.

Reporting for KCAL9, Adrianna Weingold says news of the near-abduction spread through the school quickly, and throughout the day.

Students were given a letter to take home to explain what happened.

“It’s scary knowing that our kids can’t be safe here anymore. We drop them off knowing that they’re going to be safe and this happens,” said Julia Velasquez, a parent.

“There’s cars passing by and we just don’t know who is going to stop and pick them up,” said Lorenzo Hernandez, also a parent.

As for Doolittle — he doesn’t consider what he did to be heroic. “I didn’t feel brave,” he says, “when u see little girls running down the street away from what appears to be a monster, I think anybody would have done it. It was just a horrible thing to see.”

Weingold reports the suspect is in custody undergoing a mental evaluation to determine if he is a threat to public safety.

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