Police: Man was high on PCP when he attacked mom, toddler

A La Plata man is facing charges in a bizarre attack. Witnesses say he attacked a mother and her child and tried to gouge their eyes out.

Witnesses heard the mother screaming for help at the intersection of Charles Street and Route 301. Several people rushed to help.

Police say the mother was trying to take the suspect to get help when he suddenly attacked the child.

"The suspect jumped out of the front passenger seat into the back and started assaulting the child," said La Plata Police Chief Carl Schinner.

Investigators still don't know what provoked him, but say it is not uncommon for PCP to turn someone violent.

The child, named Camryn, is just shy of two years old and suffered wounds to her eyes and face. Her mother managed to get out of the car, grabbed Camryn and set her down in the road, still in her car seat.

Across the street, Jackie Alexander and Brittany Bahen could not believe what they were seeing.

"I ran out to try and get the baby to make sure nobody ran over her," said Bahen in an exclusive interview with FOX 5.

Several other bystanders tried to grab the man, identified by police as 27-year-old James Ronald Lee, but he got loose attacking another woman trying to help.

"He would not go down quietly," said Alexander. "Motorists were even stomping him. This guy had superhuman strength. He was totally out of control."

"We stopped because there were a bunch of people running around," said Christian Alderucci, another Good Samaritan who helped tackle the suspect and free the toddler. "There was a lady with her baby and the guy was chasing her.

"Then an older woman got out of her car and grabbed the guy and he turned his attention on her and started attacking her and got her down to the ground. He was trying to gouge her eyes out, so we kind of jumped on him. Myself first and then a bunch of others guys showed up trying to hold his hands from getting at her face. He was screaming and trying to bite us. He was just going crazy."

The women brought the mother and child inside to get away. That is when they saw the child's face.

"She was bleeding from both of her eyes," Bahen recalled. "And she had cuts all over her face. It was horrible. It looked like she had been attacked by an animal. It was the worst kind of injury I've seen in a child."

The mother told them the suspect jumped into her car on Kalmia Court a few blocks away.

"She said he got in her car that he was high on PCP. He kept saying people were trying to kill him and she was trying to take him to the Sheriff's office," Bahen said.

A La Plata police officer driving by saw what was happening and stopped. The suspect was already on the ground by then. The officer handcuffed him and called for medics.

"I don't know what would have happened," said Chief Schinner. "We're very thankful those people did jump in."

Police say the suspect was treated for a PCP overdose and has since been arrested and charged with three counts of assault. He is being held on $500,000 bond.

"[The suspect] was so strong," said Alderucci. "They call it superhuman when they are on PCP and it was just crazy."

The mother and bystander who were attacked were treated and released from a local hospital.

Camryn was taken to Children's Hospital and was released late Wednesday after undergoing a procedure on her eyes.

The attack unnerved witnesses, but Alexander says she never hesitated to help.

"We didn't have any fear about going out there," she said noting many others from cars and nearby buildings jumped in too.

The family has set up a GoFundMe account to help with the family's expenses while Camryn recovers from the severe eye and facial wounds. Click here for a link.

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