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Commuters tackle man trying to kidnap girl on L.A. rail platform

March 18, 2011 |  8:20 am

60216790 As many as 10 commuters helped to foil the kidnapping of a teenage girl at a South L.A. light rail station. The girl has now come forward to detectives, officials said Friday.

The group of Good Samaritans tackled the girl's would-be attacker in the incident Thursday, a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department spokesman said.

"Eight to 10 people wrestled him to the ground," sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said. "The bystanders refused to let this occur. They brought this man to the ground, and there was a fight. It was an aggressive fight."

Sheriff's transit deputies received a report of a disturbance on a train just after 2 p.m. at the Avalon station in the 11600 block of Avalon Boulevard in Green Meadows,  Whitmore said.

When they arrived, witnesses told deputies that commuters at the station had wrestled a man to the ground after he grabbed an unidentified teenage girl from behind and tried to drag her away. The girl broke free and ran away, Whitmore said. The attacker fled on an arriving train. The suspect is identified as James Alfred Burnett, a 46-year-old registered sex offender with a criminal history.

When Burnett arrived at the Imperial station, waiting deputies arrested him, Whitmore said. He was booked on suspicion of attempted kidnapping. Burnett was taken to a hospital, where he was treated for cuts and bruises.

The girl left the scene but has since contacted police after media reports about the story.

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-- Andrew Blankstein

Photo: James Alfred Burnett and a surveillance image of the attempted kidnapping. Credit: L.A. County Sheriff's Department

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