Kennesaw, GA – An attempted kidnapping suspect was tackled by three men in a mall food court on Tuesday evening, after he held a knife to the throat of an 11-year-old girl inside a public restroom.
Danzell Mitchell, 26, has been charged with first-degree cruelty to children, attempted kidnapping, and aggravated assault, WSB reported.
Investigators said they are still searching for a female “person of interest” in the case, according to WXIA.
The incident occurred at approximately 6:30 p.m. at the Town Center shopping center food court, when the little girl asked to use the restroom, WAGA reported.
Her father escorted her to the entrance of the women’s bathroom, and waited for her outside.
The child later told investigators that she didn’t notice anyone else in the area when she entered the stall, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
But when the unsuspecting child stepped back out of the stall, Mitchell suddenly emerged from another stall, and grabbed her.
“When she came out… a stall across from her opened and a male subject came out. That male subject grabbed her, produced a knife and began to move that towards her,” Cobb County Deputy Police Chief Stuart Vanhoozer said, according to WAGA.
He told her to be quiet, but the little girl let out a scream, WXIA reported.
“When she screamed it startled him a little bit and that she was able to break free,” Chief Vanhoozer said.
The child ran to her father, and was able to point out her attacker a moment later.
“’Dad, that’s him’,” the father recounted to WXIA. “All I knew that my daughter was distraught.”
He immediately approached Mitchell to ask him about what had occurred.
“I said, ‘Sir! Excuse me. Excuse me!’ and immediately he said, ‘I did nothing wrong’,” the father said.
The more questions he asked, the more Mitchell began to resist.
“After a slight foot chase, several people were able to get him under control and corralled him,” Chief Vanhoozer told WSB.
The girl’s father and two other mall patrons wrestled Mitchell to the ground, pinned him down, and waited for police to arrive.
Chief Vanhoozer said that the girl’s father noticed that Mitchell appeared to be “distracted” by something during the altercation.
“The father looked backwards, to see if he could see why this guy was distracted by something behind them,” Chief Vanhoozer said. “In doing so, he saw what he believed was a female who was communicating with this man.”
Investigators were attempting to identify and locate that woman, who was described as thin, with dark hair, an olive complexion, and a pink shirt, WXIA reported.
Investigators discovered a black-handled kitchen knife in Mitchell’s pocket when he was taken into custody, WXIA reported.
Mitchell claimed that he carried the knife for protection.
“It wasn’t a knife that a normal person would be carrying in their pocket,” Chief Vanhoozer said.