This shocking video captures the moment a heroic school girl fought off a man as he tried to abduct her.
CCTV footage of the incident shows the assailant sprinting towards the child, grabbing her and attempting to drag her across the grass.
As the man – later identified by sheriffs as Jared Paul Stanga – runs towards her with knife in hand, the girl gets to her feet and tries to escape, the Pensacola News Journal reported.
The suspect, who officials described as a convicted sex offender, grabs her in a headlock and begins dragging her toward the van, which still has its engine running.
But as she fights and struggles to escape his clutches, he stumbles to the ground and she is able to pry herself free.
The suspect runs back to the car and drives away.
Within minutes, more than 50 deputies from Escambia County Sheriff’s office flooded the area hunting for the sex offender, and local media put out a description of him and his vehicle.
He tried to disguise the van by painting it a different color, but when sheriffs caught up with him eight hours later he still had ‘blue slime’ on his clothes from trying to abduct the child.
Sheriffs said Stanga, 30, was arrested on Tuesday evening and charged with attempted kidnapping of a child under 13, aggravated assault and battery.
Sheriff Chip Simmons paid tribute to the bravery of the young girl at a press conference on Tuesday night.
Stanga has an ‘extensive’ criminal past that includes child sex abuse charges, according to Simmons.