A 37-year-old Arizona man was arrested after harrowing surveillance video showed what took place Friday as an 11-year-old girl was walking to school.
“Someone tried to take her away from her loving family,” he said.
Joseph Leroy Ruiz was arrested in connection with the incident. He faces charges of attempted kidnapping and custodial interference.
Police responded to Sunset Elementary School after a fifth-grader said she feared she was the target of a kidnapping attempt.
The girl told police someone she believed to be “suspicious” was waiting at the bottom of the stairs of her apartment building and gave her what she called an “odd look” as she passed. She told police she felt uncomfortable because of the interaction and ran through her apartment complex.
Upon reaching Onyx Avenue, she told police a car driven by the same man she saw at her apartment building stopped by her as she walked.
She said a man exited the vehicle and ran after her with his arms outstretched, until she ran to some nearby friends, yelling for help.
Police said the girl was then joined by three friends and continued on to school.
When police went to the location of the alleged incident, they examined surveillance video that buttressed the girl’s story.
Police saw a car matching the one in the video driven by a man who resembled the description of the man the girl saw at her apartment building. They detained the driver.
NEW: Man tries kidnapping a fifth-grade student in broad daylight in Glendale, Arizona as the child was walking to school.
Shortly after the incident, police arrested 37-year-old Joseph Ruiz who had a known criminal history which included being convicted of… pic.twitter.com/cFOmPkTFBa
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) January 29, 2024
Ruiz has a record that includes charges of attempted first-degree murder and aggravated assault in 2013.
Police said Ruiz lives in the same apartment complex as the girl, according to KSAZ-TV.
Police said the girl did as others should do.
“She did the right thing. She yelled. She screamed. She told adults,” Mendez said, according to the Arizona Republic.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.