A 911 caller told operators, "Somebody tried to throw a kid in front of a train!" on Monday, according to a 911 tape obtained by NBC 4 New York.
"Tried to throw a kid in front of a train?" the operator echoed.
"Somebody tried to throw a kid in front of a train," the caller repeated.
Listen to the tape here.
The children's mother and a grandmother were among those who tackled the apparent stranger who tried to throw their two children in front of a moving train as they waited at an NJ Transit station in New Jersey Monday afternoon, police said.
Police said the family was waiting for the train at the Main Street Station in Ramsey. As the train approached, the children moved closer to the tracks to get a better look.
David Howard, of Wyckoff, allegedly then walked up to the youngsters, took one by the neck and the other by the shoulder, and led them closer to the train track, police said.
Police say Howard allegedly tried to push the children in front of the train as it approached the station. At that point, the kids' mother and grandmother intervened, tackling Howard to the ground and freeing the children, police said.
"There is like two people on top of them right now," the caller told operators as the event unfolded.
The operator said, "Supposedly there is people holding him to the ground."
The women continued to restrain Howard while a bystander called 911 just before 2:30 p.m., police said. When police arrived at the train station a short time later, the women were still on top of him.
Police say Howard did not resist arrest, but he did spit in one of the responding officers' faces.
Police are investigating a possible motive for the assault. The police chief said Howard was under the influence of something, though it wasn't clear what.
It wasn't clear why Howard approached the boys or why he appeared intent on harming them, according to authorities. The boys' mother told police that Howard had been sitting on a bench and spitting on the ground, and that he appeared to be intoxicated.
Howard was charged with attempted murder, kidnapping, aggravated assault and aggravated assault of a police officer. He is being held on $500,000 bail.
Information on an attorney wasn't immediately available.