Man may have tried to usher 2 children from class at YMCA, witnesses tell CMPD

CHARLOTTE — Police say a YMCA member may have tried to usher two children away from their class.

Detectives with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said it happened Wednesday afternoon outside the Keith Family YMCA on Old Mallard Creek Road.

Police told Channel 9′s Hunter Sáenz they’re relying on witnesses to move forward with the case. They said they have a person of interest but an arrest has not yet been made and no charges have been filed.

The investigation came as a surprise to ones YMCA member who is also a mother.

“This is a place where I come to get a peace of mind so yeah, I feel safe here. But knowing what happened, it makes me wonder,” Tiony said.

CMPD told Sáenz just after noon on Wednesday, witnesses said a man tried to physically usher away two children. A police report lists those children as a 5-year-old boy and 5-year-old girl.

Investigators said the man is a member at the YMCA. They said when a staff member saw what was allegedly happening, they intervened. The man left and then police were called.

“That’s some terrible stuff,” Y member Antonio told Sáenz.

Antonio said he has seven kids himself.

“Watch your kids. It’s a cruel world right now anywhere you go,” he said.

CMPD said the person of interest they are talking with is cooperating with them. Meanwhile, some parents plan to be more vigilant.

“I’ll probably watch my surroundings,” Tiony told Sáenz.

Sáenz reached out to the YMCA. They acknowledged the incident, saying, “...the quick actions of the teacher ensured the safety of the children.” They also said the parents of every child in that class were told about the incident.

Investigators say surveillance cameras don’t capture the area where this all happened, so they are relying solely on what witnesses are telling them.

Police are not investigating this as an attempted kidnapping. Their term for it right now is “potential enticement.”

The full statement from the Y is below:

“Yesterday at our Keith Family YMCA, a suspicious adult approached and briefly interacted with children from a class as they were walking in line from one location to another outdoors. The teacher immediately followed the Y’s safety protocols, and notified branch leadership, who called CMPD. The quick actions of the teacher ensured the safety of the children. We informed all parents and guardians who have children in the class. We are thankful for the safety of the children, the quick actions of the teacher, as well as the immediate response of CMPD.”

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Hunter Sáenz

Hunter Sáenz,

Hunter is a reporter for Channel 9.