A Los Angeles County Sheriff's cruiser. Photo by John Schreiber
A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s cruiser. Photo by John Schreiber

A homeless man was in custody Thursday after allegedly creating a chaotic scene in a Paramount restaurant by grabbing a 7-year-old girl from her terrorized grandmother as customers and workers came to the family’s aid.

Arriving deputies saw the suspect fighting with customers and employees, but when they tried to subdue the suspect, they started losing the battle.

Customers and workers then tried to help the deputies. The law enforcement officers finally used a Taser to bring the suspect under control.

Witnesses, including a woman dining with her daughter and granddaughters, alleged the suspect, who was unprovoked, “was talking loudly as he approached the family and grabbed food from their table.”

“Fearing for their safety, the grandmother grabbed her grandchildren and moved them towards the business counter,” Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau said. “The suspect walked towards them, snatched the 7-year-old grandchild by the arm and pulled her away from the grandmother.”

A restaurant employee and a customer intervened and separated the 35-year-old homeless man from the family. The family members then retreated to the back of the business.

The distraught and fearful grandmother and mother of the children pushed the 7-year-old out of the restaurant’s drive-through window “to get her away from the suspect,” Navarro-Suarez said.

It all started when a deputy responded about 3:40 p.m. Tuesday to a report of a man arguing with customers at the restaurant at the intersection of Alondra and Paramount boulevards, according to Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau.

“When the first deputy arrived on scene, she saw two males fighting inside the restaurant,” according to Navarro-Suarez, who said a second deputy arrived at the scene in less than a minute.

“They quickly approached two civilians who were detaining a male black adult, fitting the description of the suspect in the call,” she said.

The suspect broke free and struggled with the deputies as they tried to prevent him from fleeing.

“Seeing that the suspect was overpowering the deputies and refused to cooperate by complying with orders to stop fighting, the two civilians came to the deputies’ aid,” Navarro-Suarez said.

“The combatant suspect continued to fight, refused to comply with directions and in an effort to quickly and safely quell the disturbance, less than lethal force was used. The success of the use of the Taser allowed the deputies to take the suspect into custody without any of the innocent patrons being injured.”

Additional deputies soon arrived and assisted in taking the man — later identified as Lorenzo Ray Traylor of Paramount — into custody.

Navarro-Suarez said the suspect was initially taken to a hospital. “He faces charges of kidnapping, battery on a peace officer and burglary.”

–City News Service

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