Kids stop kidnapping attempt at Maryland school bus stop, police say, suspect arrested

A group of middle school students helped thwart a kidnapping attempt near a school bus stop in the Washington, D.C. area.

The group of middle school students were waiting at the bus stop in Gaithersburg, Maryland on Monday morning when a man came up and grabbed one of the children, Montgomery County police said.

The man started pulling the child toward an apartment complex before several students intervened, allowing the victim to break free, police said.

The students boarded the bus and reported the incident to staff at Redland Middle School. Police later arrested a 31-year-old man on charges of attempted kidnapping and second-degree assault shortly after. He was being held on that charge Tuesday.

Police spokeswoman Shiera Goff said she didn't know whether the students made any physical contact with the suspect or if their intervention was largely verbal.

The suspect is not believed to be a child predator, Goff said, adding that she couldn't elaborate as to the motive for the attempted kidnapping because of health privacy laws.

Prosecutors ultimately will decide whether to charge the man and a judge would determine if he's mentally fit to stand trial if a case is filed.

Though police don't encourage civilian intervention in crimes, Goff said that the children in this situation deserve to be commend.

"The kids did amazing," she said.

A letter sent to parents of three area schools by their principals, including Redland Middle, told parents that the student who was grabbed was not harmed and that there would be an increased security presence at the bus stop on Tuesday and Wednesday.

"We are grateful for the quick action of our students," the statement said. "Knowing that this may have been alarming for some of our students, we are providing social emotional support to all of the students who were at the bus stop and may have witnessed this."

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Students stop kidnapper from snatching kid at Maryland school bus stop