A Bronx school custodian may have saved a 6-year-old boy from harm when he intervened after he noticed a stranger approach the boy outside a school and grab his hand.
John Velasquez was sweeping outside PS 160 at about 7 a.m. Friday when he noticed an older man come up to the boy, who was alone.
When Velasquez saw the man grab the child's hand, he asked the boy if he knew the man. The suspect said he was the boy's uncle, but the child said he didn't know the man, according to Velasquez.
"So I grabbed the child by his hand and I walked him straight to security," said Velasquez.
The man's eyes "were bulging, he was definitely on something. I believe he had really bad intentions," he added.
Velasquez said the 6-year-old regularly walks to school alone and often waits outside before children are let into the building.
Parents in the Bronx community were startled to hear the boy was alone when he was approached.
"I'm in shock," said Carmen Cruz. "Six-year-old walking alone, the mother should have been walking the kid to school."
"I have children and a grandchild, and I would never leave them alone for that period of time," added another parent, Steve Smith.
The school posted a letter on its website alerting parents about the incident and warned them that children should not be left unattended before school is open.
Police have posted fliers with the stranger's sketch throughout apartment buildings in Co-op City.
On Monday morning, the boy's mother accompanied him to school, according to Velasquez.
"She thanked me, she did thank me," he said. "I just told her, 'Listen, I would have done it for any child, but you gotta keep an eye on your kids.'"
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