Samaritans help blind dad defend 6-year-old daughter from attempted kidnapper
Los Angeles County
Elijah Lopez, 24, has pleaded not guilty in connection with the Aug. 18 incident.

By Cindy Von Quednow, KTLA

LOS ANGELES (KTLA) -- A man is facing an attempted kidnapping charge after allegedly trying to take a 6-year-old girl from her blind father outside their Huntington Park home, L.A. County officials announced last week.

Elijah Lopez, 24, has pleaded not guilty in connection with the Aug. 18 incident, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

The girl and her father were riding a Blue Line train home on Aug. 18. Lopez was also on the train and allegedly followed the pair when they got off the train, the D.A.'s Office said.

The suspect asked the father if he could take the girl home, according to Los Angeles Police, KSWB reports. Several people on the train stepped in to assist the father and daughter, police said.

“His overbearingness while walking to the bus line was so obvious and disturbing to additional Angelenos, that they in turn stepped forward and told Lopez to leave the family alone,” KSWB reports an LAPD spokesman said.

Lopez followed them onto a bus and continued to speak to them. He then allegedly approached them outside their home near Sixth and Coronado streets and grabbed the girl, trying to pull her away from her father, the D.A.'s Office said.

The father held onto the girl and struggled with the suspect. A woman and a homeless man intervened and helped the father and daughter, KSWB reports.

Lopez fled the scene and was arrested later in San Diego when a San Diego County sheriff’s deputy spotted him in Escondido, KTLA reports.

“When he tried to grab her, that’s when I turned around and started yelling at him, stay the 'bad-word' away from us, that’s when the neighbors stepped in and he started walking away,” the father, Cesar Palma, said at an LAPD news conference. “In my mind, I wanted to turn around and fight with him, but I thought, if I let my daughter go and he snatches her and he can run with her, how am I going to run after them? It’s unsafe out there -- there’s a lot of crazy people. Just hold on to your kids, don’t let them wander off, because anything could happen.”