A boy from Wichita Falls, Texas was hailed a hero after saving a 7-year-old girl from kidnapping and possibly sexual assault.
T.J. Smith noticed something that just didn’t seem right while he was playing outside in his Wichita Falls, Texas neighborhood. A man he didn’t recognize picked up a 7-year-old girl who lived next to him.
“If I was a little girl I would be scared too,” he said. “She was riding her scooter and he picked her up and started walking, and I chased after him. I thought it was her cousin or somebody.”
T.J then ran for help to the home of his neighbor, James Ware, who quickly jumped into action.
“So I ran out the door,” Ware said. “By the time I got out the door I ran about a quarter of the way down the alley, and I said well forget that, turned around and went back in the house and got the keys.”
With a group of neighbors and his wife, Ware says he patrolled the neighborhood until he found the house where the girl had been taken. The criminal, a man police identified as Raeshawn Perez, had reportedly taken her into the backyard of an abandoned home. By the time Ware found the house, Smith was already there waiting for them.
When they got there, he said, they approached Perez, who let the girl go and began to run. Ware then chased Perez down and was able to tackle him and hold him on the ground until police arrived.
Wichita Falls Mayor Stephen Santellana told the Times Record News he was grateful for all of the people who helped stop Perez. Sharing his proudest moments especially the 11-year-old’s bravery to help.
Another neighbor, Pamela Brown, said she was impressed by the boy but also glad he didn’t get in harm’s way.
Perez was arrested and jailed for attempting to kidnap the girl.
T.J. Smith has to wear a police badge to school last week, which he certainly earned.