CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) - DISCLAIMER: As of 10:20 a.m. Wednesday, July 24 the Gaston County Police Department said the person of interest shown in surveillance photos from a local gas station has been interviewed and cleared of any involvement.
They continue to investigate tips provided through social media and Crime Stoppers.
A Gaston County stepfather is praising his daughter for fighting off a man who tried to kidnap her.
The stepfather tells FOX 46 Charlotte the seven-year-old girl started kicking and screaming when the strange man approached her in the driveway.
Gaston County Police are looking for a person of interest in an attempted kidnapping case. They tell FOX 46 they know the name of the man thanks to social media shares, but are still looking for him.
“She is my hero through and through. I’m very proud of her,” said the stepfather. “She kicked him, and she hollered and that’s about as much as I can tell you.”
The stepfather says he knew it was important to teach her self defense, but didn’t know she would need it in her own driveway.
He says he's told her “if anyone other than immediately family tries to grab you in any wrong way, kick them and try to get away as fast as you can.”
Police say the attempted kidnapping happened on Saturday on Tryon School Road in Bessemer City. A security man captured the man leaving a convenience store before he went to the girl’s home.
“I don’t understand how people can be so low down to do something like that,” said a concerned neighbor. “It may not be a little girl he tries to grab next time, it may be a little boy”
One mother tells FOX 46 she's going to warn her seven-year-old son to keep his eyes open for stranger who could bring him harm.
“I will inform him that if ever someone approaches him, that he is to get the other way and not be talking to nobody but yes he will be fully warned.”
The girl's stepfather also had a warning, saying police better find the suspect before he does.