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Good Samaritans prevent abduction at Metro Green Line

March 18, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
It was a terrifying scene.

Police said a registered sex offender grabbed a young girl on a railroad platform and tried to drag her away. But Metro Green Line passengers saw what was going on and took action.

Detectives at sheriff's headquarters said that they talked to the victim, and she is very grateful that Good Samaritans stepped up and possibly saved her life.

Pictures taken from surveillance footage showed several Good Samaritans pummeling a man that allegedly was trying to kidnap a woman at the Avalon Metro Green Line Station in South L.A.

The attack happened around 2 p.m. Thursday. Sheriff officials said that if people hadn't come to the victim's rescue that the suspect, 46-year-old James Burnett, might have succeeded in his attempt to allegedly kidnap the woman.

"The passengers, the commuters, bystanders, people like you and me, said 'no not today' and so it all worked out," said Steve Whitmore from the L.A. County Sheriff's Dept. "And this individual, by the way, is behind bars on $100,000 bail. And we are looking at other cases that he may be connected to- a possible one that happened in February where it was an actual attempted rape."

In that case, on Feb. 17, a suspect kidnapped a 14-year-old girl from the Metro Green Line in Hawthorne. He then took the victim to a nearby condo where he attempted to rape her but she fought him off and managed to get away.

Detectives have a composite sketch of the man they're looking for in that case. They said they will thoroughly investigate whether Burnett is linked to that crime and possible others.

"He's a registered sex offender," said Whitmore. "He has a criminal history."

Teamika said she witnessed the attempted kidnapping at the Avalon Street Station and she saw the victim panic when the suspect grabbed her.

"I just saw the girl yelling 'could somebody please help me,'" said Teamika.

Metro riders said they're happy the community came to the rescue of the victim.

"I'm glad the community stepped up," said Kyra Woodan from Southgate. "That's really good, because he shouldn't do that."