BETHESDA, Md. (WJLA) - Police are calling it a parent's worst nightmare: an unhinged man crashes a car, breaks into an apartment building, and kidnaps a young child. That's what unfolded Thursday near the Grosvenor Metro station in North Bethesda.
According to Montgomery County Police, around 10:41 a.m., Shervin Hessamfar, 27, crashed a friend's blue sports car at the corner of Tuckerman Ln. and Rockville Pike. Instead of reporting the crash, officers say he sprinted down Tuckerman and up a flight of brick steps, where he wreaked havoc on the Avalon at Grosvenor Station Apartments.
"As soon as you heard the breaks screech, the guy hit the concrete median. He just hopped out of the car and shot up the street," eyewitness Bobby Davis recalled.
For reasons unknown, Hessamfar, who lives at the apartment complex, then smashed out a ground floor window, gaining access into an apartment with a woman and her child inside. Both were terribly rattled, but escaped uninjured.
"All of a sudden we saw a woman clinging onto her baby in the street, she kept screaming, 'call 911,'" landscaper Gerard Kipre said.
Police say Hessamfar, who they think was drunk, high, and/or mentally unstable, then ran to the second floor where he pulled a building fire alarm. The shrill of that alarm led to another break-in, this time on floor three.
"A lot of people left their units to see what was happening. In that short amount of time, the suspect entered the door, which had been left slightly ajar, went in and took a three-year-old boy," Capt. Jim Daly of the Montgomery County Police Dept. said.
Officers locked down that building and established a perimeter outside. Shortly after beginning a floor-by-floor search, a detective found Hessamfar and the boy in the stairway near the parking garage. Police peacefully talked down the unarmed 27-year-old. Witnesses later saw him emerge from the building lying handcuffed on a stretcher. Paramedics took Hessamfar to the hospital for mental evaluation. The kidnapped toddler was returned to his family unharmed.
"How you making sense of it all," an ABC 7 News reporter asked Bobby Davis. "I'm not. It's so random. The guy must be crazy," Davis answered.
Apartment management says the large garden-style complex, which backs directly to the Red Line, is locked 24-7 with remote key fob access for residents. Employees said they couldn't comment further.
"What appeared to be a minor single vehicle accident became a call for a burglary, and then a kidnapping. So the challenge for the officers was to try and quickly determine whether those calls are related or not. Today it turned out they were," Capt. Daly concluded.
Hessamfar, who according to the Maryland Judiciary Case Search website already has criminal record, is facing charges of kidnapping a child under 16 and two counts of burglary.