A homeless man was arrested after he allegedly tried to snatch a little girl from her mother’s arms in Venice, California, Saturday.
The suspect, later identified as Evan McLaurin-Nelson, approached the Pegram family multiple times as they sat on a restaurant patio eating dinner that evening, according to ABC 13.
“He started telling us ‘God told me to save her. I have to save her’ so he kept coming up to us trying to take her,” said six-year-old Neveah Pegram’s father, Riley.
McLaurin-Nelson reportedly kept telling the family their little girl reminded him of his own niece.
Surveillance footage showed the suspect as he approached the girl for the final time while she sat on her mother’s lap. When he reached out to take her, Riley’s brother grabbed him by the hair and threw him onto the pavement.
The two men held McLaurin-Nelson down until the police arrived and took him into custody.
“We think he was on something. On some type of drugs or something. I don’t know if he was homeless, but I know he was on drugs,” Riley said of the terrifying incident.
“This guy, he was starting to follow us and then, and then my uncle had to shove him out of the way, and then he kept following us,” Neveah said.
The Pegram family told reporters that it took six police officers to subdue the man.
“They got him down but the whole time he was just yelling out loud ‘Save the girl, I need to save her,’” Riley recalled.
Detectives with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) said McLaurin-Nelson moved to California from Las Vegas, Nevada, three years ago and has an arrest record from both states that included battery, indecent exposure, and disorderly conduct.
“The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office filed one count of attempted kidnapping and one count of resisting a peace officer against McLaurin-Nelson,” according to ABC 7.
In June, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority released data that said the number of homeless people in the area rose 12 percent in the past year.
“The newly released data revealed that nearly three-fourths of the homeless population, which includes 58,936 people, are sleeping in cars, tents, and other make-do shelters,” Breitbart News reported.