Little League coach foils attempt to kidnap one of his players

Suspect claimed the boy was his son

SAN DIEGO - San Diego Little League parents are on edge after finding out a man tried to kidnap a 7-year-old player after practice in Ocean Beach.

The incident happened Feb. 20 at Robb Field. 

Coach Scott Hedenkamp said when his players were taking batting practice he noticed a man pacing back and forth along the fence. The man appeared to be focused on one little boy.

When practice was over, Hedenkamp said the man came onto the field and kept repeating, "That's my son, that's my boy," and telling the frightened player, "Come on, it's time to go home."

Hedenkamp did not know what to make of the situation until the boy spoke up.

 "The kid tells me, 'That's not my dad, I don't know this man,' and he started crying hysterically," Hedencamp recalled, saying he knew at that point he had to do something. 

The coach stepped in-between the boy and the man and told him he needed to get off the field.

An assistant coach called 911 and the man, identified as 28 year-old Jerrod West, was arrested for attempted kidnapping and resisting arrest. West's bail is set at $100,000.

Parents praised Hedenkamp for handling the situation.

"He stepped right in. He did what he was supposed to do," said Vicky McElyea. "When something like that happens, you never know how you're going to react and he reacted the right way."

Hedenkamp said he only did what any coach in the league would do.

"I think it's kind of just one of those things that just kicks in instinctually and naturally, and I would like to think that anyone that's coaching a little league team or a basketball team or anything for that matter would do the same thing that I did," he said.  

The Peninsula Little League sent emails to parents about the incident, reminding them of the importance of everyone watching out for the children. "It takes a village," the email said.

A background check of West shows he was once a licensed security guard in California. Court records show three previous misdemeanor arrests for petit theft and fighting in public.

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