Witnesses take down San Diego carjacker

SAN DIEGO - A group of bystanders stepped in and detained a man who tried to carjack a woman and a young girl in City Heights on Sunday afternoon.

The incident, which was caught on video, occurred just after 4 p.m. in the Appletree Market parking lot in the 4400 block of University Avenue.

The suspect, identified as 21-year-old Ismael Hernandez, got into the driver's seat and tried to drive the vehicle with the woman and child inside before hitting a pole, San Diego police said.

"I see this guy in the backseat choking out the driver and there were a couple of other people in the window grabbing the keys from him," Aaron Leaf told 10News.

Leaf was inside a Mexican food restaurant at the time and heard the screaming. When he ran outside to see what was happening, he could not believe his eyes. He grabbed his cellphone and started shooting what was happening.

"I was trying to figure out what was happening and once I realized, I didn't feel sorry for the guy at all," said Leaf.

Video showed the man being dragged out of the car and taken to the ground by several men. He was hit and kicked as he struggled to get away.

After an officer arrived on scene and tried to take him into custody, Hernandez continued to resist arrest. The bystanders again stepped in and helped hold him down.

Paramedics checked out the mother and the child. Their nerves were rattled but they were not physically harmed.

"When I saw the video, he was so aggressive and he was not him … he was acting different," the suspect's brother told 10News.

Elais Velasquez told 10News his brother has been struggling with alcohol and drugs for some time and was just released from rehab a few months ago. His father believes his son may have relapsed and that may have been the cause for his son's actions.  

"He regrets and is sorry to the people he tried to harm," said Hernandez's father Sergio. "My family is emotional and not doing well. We want no harm to the families."

Hernandez was booked into the San Diego Jail on charges included attempted carjacking, attempted kidnapping, attempted auto theft.

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