Trial set for City Heights carjacking suspect

SAN DIEGO - A man who was reportedly taken down by witnesses while trying to carjack two people in a City Heights parking lot last month appeared in San Diego County Superior Court Friday morning for a preliminary hearing.

Ismael Velasquez Hernandez, 21, is charged with attempted kidnapping during a carjacking, felony child abuse and possession of a controlled substance.

On July 13, witness video appeared to show Hernandez force his way into a van while a woman and her 7-year-old daughter were inside. The incident occurred at the Appletree Market parking lot in the 4400 block of University Avenue.

Hernandez got into the driver's seat, hitting the woman in the face and chest, prosecutors say. When he tried to drive away, bystanders intervened, pulling him out of the van and holding him down until police arrived.

Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

During Friday’s hearing, the officer who was first to arrive on scene testified before a judge that when he got there, several men had Hernandez pinned to the ground.

A judge heard testimony today from several witnesses before setting a trial date for Oct. 17.

If convicted, Hernandez faces 12 years in prison.

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