Whitehall police are lauding several residents as lifesavers after they intervened in the stabbing attack on a 15-year-old girl Oct. 17, detaining the suspect until police arrived.
"They acted as heroes, plain and simple," Deputy Chief Dan Kelso said.
Kelso said the residents "sacrificed their own safety and security to stop this horrendous attack" and chased down the suspect, ultimately saving the life of the girl while helping police remove "a dangerous criminal" from the street.
Police arrested Taji Kyle, 16, of Columbus and charged him with one count of attempted murder, Kelso said.
Whitehall police identified the men who intervened in the attack as Matt Burns, 48; Scott Bryant, 32; and Kenneth Kosobud, 34, all of Beechrun Road.
Burns told police he was standing at his neighbor's door shortly before 4:30 p.m. Oct. 17 and saw Kyle and the girl appear to hug, but then Kyle "knocked her down and was on top of her."
The girl was screaming and trying to get away, Burns told police, and he saw what appeared to be a knife in the Kyle's hand.
Kyle ran away as Burns approached him, but Burns gave chase, telling police he never lost sight of him as they ran down Doney Street.
As Burns chased Kyle, Burns' neighbors, Bryant and Kosobud, were returning home from their jobs at a used auto-parts warehouse in Groveport.
Bryant said he was nearing his residence when he saw Burns chasing Kyle.
"(Burns) yelled, 'Get him -- he just stabbed a girl,' and I stopped, put the truck in reverse, and we got out and chased him," Bryant said.
"I jumped over a fence after him and Ken went with me. We went through some backyards and got to Beechlawn Road and Doney Street, where a creek runs under the road," Bryant said.
"We caught up to him then, in the creek, where the boy fell."
Bryant said Kyle had blood on his arms and claimed the girl first attacked him, but Bryant said they did not believe him.
"Show me the wounds," Bryant said he told Kyle.
Kyle then said he stabbed the girl and dropped the knife in the creek, Bryant said.
Police later recovered the knife, reports said.
Whitehall police officer Tammi Scott arrived at the scene and several witnesses told her the suspect was in the creek, according to reports.
Scott reported Kyle surrendered without incident. She searched him and found a bottle of lighter fluid in his backpack and a lighter in the pocket of his sweatpants, reports said.
Kyle told police, "They are not mine," according to reports.
He reportedly said the victim was his ex-girlfriend and his actions were "because of an argument."
He asked how much trouble he was in but did not appear remorseful, police said.
The victim sustained about 20 stab wounds to her face, arms and hands, according to the staff at Nationwide Children's Hospital.
The girl identified her attacker, police said.
Although Whitehall police called the men heroes, Bryant said he and his friend, Kosobud, only did what he thinks other neighbors would do to help one of their own. The girl who was stabbed resides in the neighborhood, he said.
Bryant said he communicated with the girl's grandmother via social media and learned the girl's parents want to meet the three men.
"I hear the girl is doing better and might come home today," he said Oct. 20.
"I look forward to meeting her."