John Lingerfelt (Photo: Jennifer Leslie)
ATLANTA -- Atlanta police said someone tried to assault a teen girl on her way to a bus stop on Piedmont Road Tuesday morning minutes before 7:30.
The bus stop is in the 2300 block of Piedmont Road, near the Garson Drive NE intersection.
Officers on scene told 11Alive's Jennifer Leslie that a 16-year-old girl was en route to catch a MARTA bus.
A woman passing by saw the attack happen, and stopped to help the girl. She took the teen victim into the Pep Boys auto parts store near the bus stop.
John Lingerfelt, general manager of Pep Boys told Leslie that he was on his way into work when he saw a young girl walking up the street, while a suspicious man followed about 30 feet behind.
Officer Greg Lyon with the Atlanta Police Department said the suspect grabbed the girl and tried to throw her to the ground.
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"I came on into work, and next thing I know, he was choking her, trying to take her to the ground," Lingerfelt said. "She was able to get up and run, and another lady had stopped and picked her up and got her to the store."
When the girl entered the store, Lingerfelt said she was crying hysterically. She told him she did not know why the attack had happened.
"About that time, I seen the suspect coming back up the street," Lingerfelt said.
The teen said that the suspect was indeed her attacker, so Lingerfelt ran out of the store towards the man. He tackled and held his hands behind his back until police came.
How did Lingerfelt do it?
"It was adrenaline. I've got a 16-year-old daughter, she was 16, so it just hit home," he said. "I just went after him."
Lt. Jeff Hensal said he found Lingerfelt's reaction "heartening."
"He definitely went over and above what his role is as a citizen," Lt. Hensal said. "We definitely appreciate it because the subject's been apprehended."
The girl was on her way to school, carrying her book bag. According to Lingerfelt, she did not know the man who assaulted her. She also does not know why.
Lyon said the teen girl was not seriously hurt and had only minor scrapes.
Later Friday morning, Lyon identified the suspect as 27-year-old Tansu Kanlica. He faces a misdemeanor battery charge. The suspect remains in police custody.
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