A 40-year-old Gwinnett County man is accused of trying to kidnap a boy from a park, police said Wednesday. But some quick-acting bystanders prevented any children from harm.
A 911 caller reported seeing a suspicious man approach two football players during practice Monday evening at Bay Creek Park in Loganvillle, Detective J.R. Flanagan with Gwinnett police said. The man, wearing a white T-shirt, blue shorts, glasses and flip-flops, tried to convince the two boys to leave the park with him, the caller said.
Officers arrived at the park and found the suspect, identified as Jean Patrick Souffrant, of Lawrenceville, Flanagan said. Initially, Souffrant denied talking to any children, but didn’t have a good reason for being in the park, according to police.
“In speaking with officers, Souffrant was unable to speak clearly and his explanations changed several times while being interviewed,” Flanagan said in an emailed statement.
But witnesses and two children told officers a different story. Souffrant had allegedly approached a boy at the concession stand and dragged him against his will, witnesses told police. A parent approached Souffrant, who then let go of the boy and told him to leave, according to police.
The boy, whose name and age were not released, told police he was afraid of what Souffrant would do to him, Flanagan said.
Souffrant was arrested and charged with one count of kidnapping, a felony. He remained Wednesday afternoon in the Gwinnett County jail, where he was being held without bond.