PARAMOUNT, Calif. - A Long Beach family described a horrifying ordeal at a KFC restaurant in Paramount where a man stole food off their table and then tried to snatch their 7-year-old girl.
The incident happened on Tuesday around 3:40 p.m. at the restaurant near Alondra and Paramount boulevards. Authorities received a call regarding a man who was arguing with customers.
But when they arrived, they learned the suspect had tried to kidnap a little girl from her family.
"All of the sudden he lunged, he lunged forward and grabbed Gigi's other arm and pulled her. I pulled her and he pulled her and Heather started screaming, 'Don't take my babies! You don't touch my babies,'" grandmother Deborah Marlow said.
Another customer grabbed the man. The women and two kids fled to the kitchen and said when they saw the man begin to hop on the counter, they looked for a way to get the children out.
"My mom made the suggestion that there is a woman outside and hand them your kids," mother Heather Graesch said.
So that is what they did. They passed the 7-year-old girl and 3-year-old girl out the drive-thru window to a woman, who put them in her car and drove to the front where Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies arrived in force.
The sheriff's department said it took several deputies, with the help of customers and employees as well as the use of a Taser, to subdue the suspect.
The girl suffered only bruises in the encounter, and much of that came from her scared and protective grandmother.
The family said they weren't happy with the help they received from the employees at the KFC. According to a press release from the sheriff's department, a 45-year-old employee was another person who came in between the suspect and family.
The restaurant released a statement in response.
"The restaurant employees immediately called local law enforcement, and the alleged perpetrator was restrained until he was arrested. We are cooperating fully with local law enforcement on this investigation," it said.
The suspect was identified as 35-year-old Lorenzo Ray Traylor, who is a transient in the area. He was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping, battery on a peace officer and burglary.
The investigation was ongoing.
Anyone with more information about the incident was asked to call the L.A. County Sheriff's Department Lakewood Station Detective Harris at (562) 623-3500. Those wishing to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.