LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — It was moments of sheer terror for a mother and her child until good Samaritans jumped into action and thwarted a suspected carjacker in the Fairfax District this week.
Cell phone video shows officers trying to handcuff a man who they say had just jumped into a woman’s car that was stopped at the intersection of Poinsettia Place and Willoughby Avenue Wednesday afternoon.
Rishi Chitkara was walking to a meeting minutes before it happened and rushed over when he heard screams for help.
“He was reaching for the wheel, reaching for the transmission — the shifter — and pressing on the leg of the driver trying to get her to accelerate and she put the car in park, fortunately,” Chitkara said.
After the driver took the keys out and unlocked the doors, Chitkara and a group of others tried to pull the man out of the passenger’s seat.
“He physically had to be held at bay while the driver got her child out of the backseat. That was the scariest thing. She had a three-year-old strapped in the back and wailing, crying hysterically,” he added.
Chitkara and the group of good Samaritans managed to pull the man out. LAPD officers soon came and took over. The woman and her daughter were clearly shaken up.
The LAPD says the man was taken into custody and later released.
Chitkara says the detective told him the victim did not feel this was a crime and did not want to press charges.
“If this is mental illness, if this is substance abuse, I genuinely hope he gets help,” he said.