PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Raymond Symonds was waiting at a bus stop near Plainfield and Rye streets in Providence last Friday when he heard a commotion nearby.
“I happened to look and then I heard yelling and screaming,” Symonds recalled. “As I started running up, a kid yelled, ‘he’s trying to kidnap him!'”
Symonds immediately realized what was happening once he saw one of the boys being pulled into a white van.
The 52-year-old said he didn’t think twice when he ran over and startled the driver, later identified by police as Hector Larios, by jumping in front of the van.
As one of the boy’s friends pulled him from the vehicle, Symonds ran over to the driver’s side of the van and grabbed the steering wheel from Larios through the window.
“I was half in the car, half out of the car, but I still had the steering wheel,” he said. “At that time I was thinking, ‘what’s the worst that could happen? I could get a little injured, but he isn’t getting away.'”
“It seemed like an eternity before police got there,” Symonds added.
Larios was immediately taken into custody and charged with enticing a child and simple assault.
Investigators later learned Larios tried to entice the 13-year-old boy with candy and a vape pen before pulling him inside the van.
“It’s horrifying, especially when I could happen to you or your kids … it could happen to anybody,” Symonds said. “This world is just getting crazier and crazier each day.”
Symonds lives at OpenDoors, a non-profit organization that helps the formerly incarcerated get back on their feet.
OpenDoors program manager Dina Bruce tells 12 News she’s not surprised Symonds ran over to help.
“We are very proud of him,” Bruce said. “He’s a great dude.”
Symonds, who’s a father himself, said this should serve as a reminder for parents to keep a close eye on their children.
“I think about these things all the time, like this could happen to my kids,” Symonds said. “You just have to watch your kids, I can’t stress it enough.”
Larios was released on bail and ordered not to have any unsupervised contact with children. He’s due back in court on July 25.