A mother said a group of teenagers helped her defend two young children against a would-be kidnapper, who deputies say is now behind bars.
Sharaya Smith, 28, was at Lake Lisa Park in New Port Richey Saturday afternoon with her 3-year-old daughter and 4-year-old nephew. She was watching the children play on the slide when she noticed a man walk out of the woods and head straight for the children.
"Just his gait and the way he was talking so loud, immediately I knew something was wrong," Smith said.
Smith said she quickly grabbed both children under her arms and tried to walk away, but she wasn't fast enough. Smith said the situation became even scarier when she heard what the man was saying.
"He said that he was sent from God to rid the world of trash and drug dealers and prostitutes," she said.
Smith said she began frantically shouting for help, and a group of nearby teenagers came rushing over. She said they circled around her, protecting her and the children as she got them to safety inside the car.
''One of them had their hand on me and one was by her and one was by Dante," she said. "And they made sure that he didn't touch the kids. And they didn't leave."
Smith and the children were able to get away and call for help. Deputies said they caught up with the man, later identified as Bienvenido Cintron, 34, a short while later.
Deputies said Cintron had called the sheriff's office himself to report that he had been attacked by teenagers - the same boys Smith now calls heroes.
"I don't know what would've happened if they didn't come," Smith said.
Smith said that when she first got to the park, she actually told some teenagers to quiet down because she thought they were being too rowdy. They turned out to be the same boys who came rushing to her aid.
After that, Smith said she will never judge a book by its cover, and that she wants them to know that she is grateful for them.
Cintron has been charged with attempted kidnapping and attempted burglary. He is being held at the Land O' Lakes Jail.