BY TANYA BRICKING
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Bystanders tackled an off-duty Cincinnati firefighter they say tried to abduct an Avondale girl on her way to school Friday morning and fought to hold him down until police arrived to arrest him.
Ricardo Hicks, right, says he apprehended a man who tried to abduct a 7-year-old Avondale girl.
(Jeff Swinger photo)
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Maurice Young, 40, of Silverton, an 18-year veteran in the fire division, was in jail overnight and is expected to be arraigned today in Hamilton County Municipal Court on a kidnapping charge.
Witnesses say a man snatched the 7-year-old girl from Blair Avenue as she walked to her bus stop about 6:10 a.m., stuffed a sock in her mouth and tried to drive off.
"I heard somebody screaming, "He got my baby! He got my baby in the car!' " said Ricardo Hicks, 40, a neighbor who was watching his 12-year-old daughter walk to her bus stop when he heard the commotion and dashed out to Mr. Young's moving car. "I opened the door and dived in on him."
Mr. Hicks, who is 5-foot-11 and 270 pounds, says he exchanged blows with 6-foot-3, 195-pound Mr. Young as he leaned inside the maroon Cadillac. Mr. Hicks said he was able to put the car in park and take out the keys with one hand while he struggled to hold Mr. Young down with the other hand.
Mr. Young was wearing loose pants and a sweatshirt, and bystanders did not know he was a firefighter, Mr. Hicks said.
"He had one of those plastic gloves on his hand," Mr. Hicks said. "He had ropes and tape and a blanket and all that in the seat. I stopped him before he could get her taped up."
The girl, who was in the back seat, ran out of the car once Mr. Hicks stopped it, Mr. Hicks said.
"I was thinking, "Don't let him get away,' " Mr. Hicks said. " 'Cause in five or six more seconds, he would have been gone."
Kurt Diggs, 38, a Kennedy Heights man who was in the area, helped restrain Mr. Young while other neighbors called police. Officers arrived a few minutes later.
Marilyn Stone helped comfort the neighbor girl.
(Jeff Swinger photo)
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The girl's mother and other parents comforted her after she escaped.
"She was shaking and scared," said Marilyn Stone, 49, who lives in the girl's apartment building. "Her lips was hurting. She said he tried to put something in her mouth."
The girl was treated at Children's Hospital and released with minor injuries. Neighbors were relieved she was OK.
"I had to explain to my kids what happened to that little girl," said Angela Stone, 24, whose children play with her. "He grabbed her so quick, it was like in a blink. I'm going to walk them every inch to the school from now on. I'm going to walk them in the doors and everything."
The fire division is evaluating Mr. Young's status, Chief Robert Wright said.
Mr. Young is a fire apparatus operator in District 3, Engine Company 38, in Winton Place. His current assignment is in the training section, teaching driving instruction and safety.
If convicted on a kidnapping charge, Mr. Young could get up to 10 years in prison.