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Shoppers Hold Man Accused of Choking, Molesting 8-Year-Old Girl in Store Bathroom

A group of shoppers and store clerks surrounded and detained a man until police arrived after witnesses say he choked an eight-year-old girl unconscious and attempted to molest her in a store bathroom in Chicago’s South Loop, police report.

According to Chicago’s ABC affiliate, police arrested Reese M. Hartstirn, 33, after witnesses said he was seen choking the child until she was unconscious, then carrying her into a stall in the bathroom of a store on South Canal Street.

The child, who was in the store with her mother, was later taken to Comer Children’s Hospital. Her condition was not released.

Witnesses told police that after the suspect was seen attacking the girl, the child’s mother and several of the patrons and workers of the store gathered together to restrain the man until police arrived.

The child’s mother also testified that Hartstirn attacked her when she tried to separate him from the child.

Hartstirn was later charged with aggravated kidnapping and aggravated battery of a child, both felonies. The suspect will also face several misdemeanor charges, as well as charges of attacking one of the police officers who took him into custody at the Central District station.

Cook County Judge Adam Bourgeois ordered Hartstirn to be held without bond. He will next appear in court on May 16.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at igcolonel@hotmail.com.

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