HEMPSTEAD, Nassau County -- Police have arrested the man they say tried to abduct a teenage girl on Long Island.
The 13-year-old victim told police she left Lawrence Road Middle School Tuesday afternoon and was walking home when she noticed a man following her.
She said he followed her out of the school parking lot around 12:20 p.m. and continued to follow her for about a half-mile, turning onto Adams Street.
Once she approached her home, police say the man grabbed her from behind and put his hand over her mouth.
"It definitely was a violent struggle," Nassau County police Detective Mike Bitsko said. "This girl fought for her life, and in doing so, she probably saved her life."
She struggled and got away, but he grabbed her again and tried to drag her between parked cars.
"What she did was very brave," Bitsko said. "This individual, this 13-year-old girl, was very brave. She fought off this individual. She fought off her attacker, and in a situation like this, she did exactly what she had to do. And at this point in time, I'm happy she's doing well. And I'm happy that we were able to apprehend this individual."
The suspect eventually fled toward Nassau Road in Uniondale, while the victim ran home.
"This girl did what she had to do," Bitsko said. "She fought for her life. She was able to get home, and she was able to call us so we could do our job and apprehend this individual. And now this individual is off the streets of this neighborhood."
Extra security was present at the middle school Wednesday, and administrators had a warning for kids.
"Students should be walking with other students home, be mindful of your surroundings, maybe take out the earbuds," Dean of Academic Services Dr. Andrea Silverstein said. "We've been in touch with the Hempstead Police Department and the Nassau County First Precinct, and they're working collaboratively, and we are trying to catch this guy."
Eyewitness News also asked Dr. Silverstein about the condition of the young victim.
"As far as we know, she's doing fine," she said. "We have very supportive families and a supportive staff here at Lawrence Road and in the district."
The suspect was identified as 24-year-old Jarrod James, of Roosevelt. He is charged with second-degree assault, second-degree attempted kidnapping, endangering the welfare of a child, and criminal obstruction of breathing/blood circulation.
'She fought for her life': 13-year-old girl escapes attempted kidnapper, suspect in custody