A 35-year-old homeless man in California is accused of attempting to kidnap a 7-year-old girl from a KFC restaurant before getting into a physical altercation with an employee, a customer and two sheriff's deputies, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said.
Lorenzo Ray Taylor, of Paramount, entered the fast food restaurant on Tuesday and began yelling at a grandmother, a mother and her young daughters, grabbing at the food on their table, KTLA reported.
"We started to eat and all of a sudden a man just walked up to us very strange and I wasn't sure what he was going to do," Heather Graesch, the girls' mother, told KTLA. "I wasn't sure if he was going to ask for money or what was going to happen, and then he grabbed our food."
Deborah Marlow, the girls' grandmother, feared for their safety and moved her grandchildren toward the counter, officials said.
Taylor then allegedly walked toward them and grabbed the 7-year-old girl by the arm, pulling her away from her grandmother, KTLA reported.
A 45-year-old employee and another customer got in between the family and Taylor, freeing the girl from his grasp, witnesses told KTLA.
Marlow and Graesch pushed the two girls out of the drive-through window into the arms of another customer to make sure they escaped, KTLA reported.
Two civilians assisted deputies who arrived on the scene but Taylor continued to fight, according to officials. The deputies then used a Taser on Taylor and successfully apprehended him.
Taylor is currently at a local hospital awaiting clearance for booking.
The family obtained an attorney, Marc Strecker, who told KTLA that the KFC employees refused to help the family in a timely manner.
In a statement, KFC said restaurant employees "immediately called law enforcement and the alleged perpetrator was restrained until he was arrested."
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Credit: John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com