LAS CRUCES, N.M. – A high school student from Mayfield (N.M.) is being praised as a hero after helping to stop an alleged kidnapping and assault by arresting a man on the floor until the authorities arrive.
Daniel Arroyo Beltran, 22, from Phoenix, was arrested by police officers from Dona Ana County (NM) on Wednesday after witnesses say he tried to kidnap three children at Chucky's gas station in Doña Ana. He is also charged assaulting several customers and employees who tried to intervene.
Beltan is accused of four counts of assault, two of assault, two of child abuse and one of kidnapping.
The seemingly random attack did not end until Canaan Bower entered the turmoil and was able to control Beltran in seconds, according to witness statements.
Bower, 16, won a district championship in the heavyweight division (285 pounds) on February 16 and then competed in the state tournament.
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The Chucky gas station is a Greyhound bus drop-off point and at around 9 am local time on Wednesday, a woman told authorities that she just got off the bus with her three children, aged 9, 2 and 1, and was waiting for her Uber to arrive when she noticed Arroyo looking at her family.
The mother told authorities that the man approached and took the 2-year-old boy's arm and demanded that the woman give him his children.
There is no indication in police reports that Arroyo met the mother or her children.
The mother kicked Arroyo, according to court documents, and Arroyo responded by punching her in the head. The woman told authorities that she fell backwards on top of her one-year-old son who was strapped to a carrier on his back.
Viewers tried to intervene, according to court documents. Arroyo is accused of punching a man and trying to hit a woman who was trying to help out there.
At some point, the mother and her children were able to run into the store. A man inside tried to keep the doors closed, court documents say, but Arroyo would have pushed the door hard enough to knock him down. Arroyo is then accused of punching the man.
Witnesses told authorities that Arroyo punched two other women who were inside as they ran through the store shouting, "Give me the kids".
At this point, the mother and children were hiding in an exclusive employee room, witnesses say.
To the rescue
Canaan Bower was filling the truck with gas in Circle K when he noticed the commotion across the street at Chucky's. Troy Bower, Canaan's father, told Las Cruces Sun-News that his son soon realized that something was not right.
"Punches were being thrown and (he could hear) screams of terror, so he jumped in his truck and crossed the street," said Troy. "When he got there, they got in and he got out of the truck and got in – and there was a lot of blood all over the floor."
Troy said Canaan said he witnessed a woman on the phone, shouting for authorities to help, and a man trying to knock down an exclusive employee door.
"So my son – who just won the fight district championship weeks ago – just came up behind this guy and hit him hard, put him in a choke and waited for the police to show up," said Troy.
Troy said he is not surprised by his son's response, because Canaan has always had a heart of gold, but he is also terrified.
"I wanted to twist his neck," said Troy. "You fear for your child's safety in this situation. You don't know if this guy might have a gun or a knife – you don't know what this guy is capable of. I'm sure other people saw what was going on. And he didn't get involved. It is very terrifying that your child will take a risk, but at the same time, confident that he will do the right thing and be able to do it. "