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VENTURA : Father Fights Off Carjacking Attempt

October 14, 1994|GREG RIPPEE

A Ventura man on a family outing to the beach thwarted a carjacking after disarming and fighting the knife-wielding man who threatened to kidnap his baby, Ventura police said Thursday.

"I just got real desperate because he had my little girl," Juvenal Herrera, 32, said of the struggle at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday in the parking lot by the Ventura Pier.

Herrera was leaning into his car to lift his 10-month-old daughter, Cristina, from the rear infant seat when a man in his late 20s approached, Ventura Police Sgt. Bob Anderson said. Herrera's wife was walking on the beach and his two older children were riding their bicycles nearby.

The suspect, described as a small Latino with black clothes, dark sunglasses and a Yankees cap, held a five-inch knife and demanded Herrera's keys and wallet, Anderson said.

Herrera complied. As the man slid behind the wheel, Herrera pleaded that he be allowed to get his baby, the sergeant said.

The man said no. "She's going with me. You can pick her up in Oxnard," Herrera told police the man told him.

Herrera struck the man with his fist, pulled his daughter out of the car and put her on the ground, he said.

The assailant grabbed Herrera and, using the butt of the knife, struck him three times on the forehead. Herrera was finally able to wrench the knife free and fling it to the sidewalk, he said.

Herrera said they fought in the parking lot before the man--described as about 5 feet 6 inches tall and 120 pounds--fled, leaving behind his knife, cap and backpack, along with Herrera's keys and wallet.

During the struggle, three joggers the same man had tried to rob moments earlier picked up the baby and returned her to Herrera's wife, Maggie, who was rushing across the sand.

Herrera suffered minor injuries in the fight. Anderson said the baby was unharmed.

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