California Man Repeatedly Tried to Kidnap 6-Year-Old Girl From Blind Father, Police Say

Police say a man from California kept trying to kidnap a 6-year-old girl from her blind father as they made their way home on public transport in Los Angeles.

Cesar Palma and his daughter Selena were travelling on a Metro train to the Westlake area of Los Angeles when they were allegedly first approached by a man named by police as Elijah John Lopez who was sitting nearby.

Police say Lopez asked if he could take the girl home and several other train passengers intervened and told Lopez to leave the two alone, say police.

When they got off the train at the 7th Street Metro station downtown, detectives say Lopez began hassling them again prompting bystanders to defend the pair.

Police say the father and daughter got on a bus, again followed by Lopez, who also got off at the same stop trailing after them.

However, as the family walked home near Sixth and Coronado streets, officers say Lopez struck, grabbing the child's hand and trying to yank her from her father's grasp prompting him to scream for help.

File photo of Los Angeles Police Department Headquarters in Los Angeles which is investigating the attempted kidnapping. Raymond Boyd/Getty

A homeless man and a woman who were nearby ran to his aid and the would-be abductor fled.

Speaking at a police press conference on Wednesday morning at the Los Angeles Police Department's (LAPD) Rampart Station, Cesar Palma said he was torn between holding onto his daughter and releasing her hand to fight the man off.

He said: "When he tried to grab her, that's when I turned around and started yelling at him. In my mind, I wanted to turn around and fight with him.

"But I thought, if I let my daughter go and he snatches her and he can run with her, how am I going to run after them? It's unsafe out there. There's a lot of crazy people.

"Just hold on to your kids, don't let them wander off, because anything could happen."

Detectives trawled through hours of surveillance video taken from the public transport system and later arrested and charged Lopez.

LAPD Captain Alfonso Lopez told reporters at the news conference that Lopez first tried to take the child on the train.

He said: "This overt action caused the commuting public that was on the train to step forward and tell Mr. Lopez to leave the family alone. One would think that would stop his action, but it did not.

"His overbearingness while walking to the bus line was so obvious and disturbing to additional Angelenos, that they in turn stepped forward and told Lopez to leave the family alone.

"Elijah John Lopez is charged with one count of attempted kidnapping in connection with the alleged abduction on August 18 near Sixth and Coronado streets.

"We believe he utilizes public transportation to not only traverse between the counties of Southern California, but to target victims."

He said anyone else who felt they had been targeted by Lopez should contact police.

Lopez was arrested on September 2 in San Diego County and taken to Los Angeles where he is being quizzed by detectives.

Local media reports say Lopez, who has pleaded not guilty, is being held on $125,000 bail.