Fresno resident Victor Pérez is being called a hero today for helping an 8-year-old escape her kidnapper.
Police say the suspect, Gregorio González, 24, forced the girl into his vehicle after spotting her girl playing with other children outside a Fresno home around 8:30 p.m. on Monday, triggering a statewide Amber alert.
Pérez told KFSN-TV he saw the truck's description on TV, then spotted it parked in front of another house. Pérez jumped in his car and started following when he saw the truck pull away.
"I was yelling but I kept cutting him off so he would get off the road," Pérez told KFSN. "At first, it was just like a simple question, 'I need to talk to you,' and (González) goes, 'No, my truck is messing up. I need to leave,' so I said 'OK.'
"I didn't see no little girl. So the second time I cut him off, the little girl stuck her head out. That's when I said, 'OK, that ain't your girl right there.' Because he was hiding her — like pushing her down.
Pérez says when he cut off the truck a third time, the suspect pushed the girl out of the car, and she ran to safety.
The truck was eventually spotted by authorities, who had received a tip about its whereabouts, and González was arrested in the parking lot of a Fresno apartment complex.
González was on probation for a felony domestic violence conviction and had been arrested numerous times, including on suspicion of possessing a sawed-off shotgun.
The girl was taken to a hospital in good condition, but Dyer later confirmed she had been sexually assaulted. The police chief described her as "frightened, traumatized."
Authorities released the victim's name when issuing the Amber Alert, but news organizations generally do not identify victims of sexual assault without their consent.
"I was at the same time happy and grateful that my daughter had been brought home," the girl's mother told a news conference. "During the night, the hours seemed very long."
Based on reporting from The Associated Press