FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Police have released chilling surveillance video showing the moment when, they said, a man ambushed and attempted to kidnap a woman in Fort Lauderdale before a good Samaritan intervened.
The footage, released on Thursday by Fort Lauderdale Police, shows the woman as she walked down an alley near Las Olas Boulevard, just before 6 a.m. on Sept. 9.
Investigators said the victim was heading toward the beach at the time of the incident.
“She was simply getting up, starting her morning a little early. She wanted to go out to the beach to kind of get some fresh air,” said Fort Lauderdale Police detective Ali Adamson.
The video shows the subject, seen wearing jeans and sneakers but no shirt, as he ran down the alleyway moments later.
Another angle shows the subject from a distance as he got closer to the woman.
“He runs up behind her and grabs her. He chokes her, throws her to the ground and starts to fight with her,” said Adamson.
Adamson said the woman had no way of knowing what was about to happen.
“She had her headphones in at the time that this attack happened, so it wasn’t even like she heard the suspect coming up behind her,” she said.
Investigators said the woman was injured when she hit her head on the concrete.
The video captured the subject and victim as he dragged her in what police described as an attempt to kidnap her.
According to the police report, the assailant put a finger in the victim’s mouth to keep her quiet, but that didn’t work, and she began screaming for help.
Detectives said the woman’s screams caught the attention of a nearby witness.
The witness, Edwin Zamora, spoke with 7News on Thursday.
“I was sitting in my truck, and I looked out, and it was a lady being attacked,” he said.
Zamora, who was working in construction a few feet away at the time, said she was pleading with the attacker not to harm her.
“She was saying, ‘Please, don’t hurt me. Take my phone and take my wallet, but don’t hurt me,'” he said.
Zamora said he sprang into action.
“I heard screaming, screaming and crying. I said, ‘Stop. Stop what you’re doing,'” he said.
Police said the good Samaritan risked his own life to stop the attack.
“The witness ultimately ends up intervening in the altercation, spooks the suspect, and he ends up fleeing northbound back down the alleyway that they walked down in,” said Adamson.
“He just looked at me, and then he released her, and then he stood up and he started running away,” said Zamora.
Zamora said he called police and sat with the victim until first responders arrived.
She was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.
Thursday afternoon, area resident Leslie Hicks was shocked when she watched video of the incident.
“It’s terrible. That’s frightening, and nobody should have to worry about being physically attacked like that,” she said.
Now police hope the newly released video will lead to the attacker’s capture.
“This is a very traumatizing incident for her,” said Adamson.
“I hate to think that we need to fear for our safety that way, but that’s the reality of being a woman sometimes,” said Hicks, “but seeing it like that is very scary.”
“You got a mom, you got a sister, you got a daughter, so it can happen to anybody,” said Zamora, “so I hope anybody can do the same thing, you know?”
If you have any information on this incident or the man’s whereabouts, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward of up to $5,000.
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