An 8-year-old girl was raped on the side of a residential street in full daylight less than half a block from her apartment, police said.

Someone who witnessed the crime Wednesday afternoon chased away the perpetrator, who remained on the loose Thursday, police spokesman Bill Proffitt said. The girl was treated at a hospital and released.

The girl was leaving a park at about 12:55 p.m. with her 7-year-old brother when a man grabbed her from behind, pulled her to the ground and raped her, police said. Their mother had left them alone for a few minutes to return home and turn off the kitchen stove.

A man playing basketball nearby said he heard the screams and ran to the scene. A motorist who witnessed it began honking her horn and dialed 911. The perpetrator got up and ran away.

Proffitt said police believe they recovered the man's shirt, which he apparently stripped off as he ran away, but they don't know his identity. People in the middle-class neighborhood say he may be a transient.