When a man tried to kidnap and sexually assault a little girl, it wasn’t the police or a man packing heat that saved her. It was an 11-year-old boy who ended up saving the day.
Raeshawn Perez tried to grab the seven-year-old girl while she was outside playing, according to 11-year-old TJ Smith, who saw the attack happen. “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,” Smith said. But it didn’t take long for Smith to realize something was wrong. And once he figured out that Perez was abducting the girl, he sprang into action.
First, Smith found an adult neighbor, James Ware, and let him know what was happening. While Ware grabbed his keys, Smith kept following Perez, and was able to tell Ware where Perez had taken the girl: a vacant house on a street nearby. When Ware arrived, he said that Perez was in the middle of trying to put the girl through a window. Ware and another adult tackled Perez, though, saving the little girl and preventing Perez from running away.
Perez told police that he planned to rape the girl.
Wichita Falls Mayor Stephen Santellana and Police Chief Manuel Borrego both praised Smith for his courageous actions and willingness to step in when he saw something wrong. “One of our goals is to have our citizens assist us in preventing crime, looking out for each other and being good neighbors,” Borrego says. “We certainly don’t want them to put themselves at risk, but in this situation, I think the bravery of this young little boy and the bravery of the two other individuals was unique and necessary and I don’t think they thought twice about it.”