It was right before the start of after school programs. Deputies said a teacher noticed a man struggling with a little girl. The teacher confronted the man. He then turned around and quickly walked away and the school went on lock down.
Deputies surrounded Reudiger Elementary after news a man tried to abduct a little girl. One teacher's quick thinking prevented what could have been a despondent Thanksgiving break.
"Because the child resisted this person trying to take them by force and the child brought attention to the incident and the teacher, we were able to avert a tragedy here," said SGT Chris Chase of the Leon County Sheriff's Office.
An immediate safety plan went into action. Faculty members accompanied students’ every move. Deputies provided rides home for walkers and remained at the school until parents picked up their children.
The incident was frightening to parents but the school's precautions and the sheriff's office quick response comforted some.
"I'm not going to stop her. She knows not to go to strangers, talk to strangers, so things just happen and unfortunately it just happened here," said Tahira Walker, a parent of a second grader at Reudiger.
"The children handled themselves perfectly. They resisted. We had staff in the area that did everything right in this case. It is an unfortunate event and we just want parents to be aware and help us all to keep kids safe," added John Hunkiar, Director of Safety and Security for Leon County Schools.
Deputies are looking for a black man in his 20s, about 5'10” with a medium build. At the time of the attempted kidnapping he was wearing khaki pants, a two-tone gray jacket, amber tinted glasses, timberland boots and a dark blue ball cap with a light blue bill.
Notification was sent out to all schools informing faculty of the incident and a restricted movement went into effect on campuses. Nearly 30 deputies were on scene and searching for the suspect.