Published : Thursday, November 8, 2018 | 10:44 PM
Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey on Thursday honored a 23-year-old Pasadena man for chasing down a man who was reportedly molesting a five-year-old child in 2016 and waiting until police arrived and arrested the suspect.
Daniel Ayard was also recognized for testifying during the trial, which ended with the suspect being sentenced in February to 15 years to life in state prison.
Ayard was one of three men Lacey honored during a Courageous Citizen Awards ceremony for their courage in coming to the aid of crime victims and testifying against the assailants in court.
“We are honored to recognize these heroes who put themselves in danger to help others and then made sure that justice was served in each of these cases,” Lacey said during the honoring event. “Their actions remind us that we all can make a difference in helping to stop crime in our neighborhoods.”
Lacey’s office said Ayard came to the aid of the five-year-old girl who had become separated from her grandmother at the Panorama City Mall on April 21, 2016.
A record of the case said the girl was approached by a man who offered to help her find her grandmother. Instead, the man took her to the parking lot and sexually assaulted her. Ayard heard the girl’s cries for help and came to her rescue.
“As Mr. Ayard approached, the man fled. Mr. Ayard chased the man for several blocks before catching him. They fought, then the man ran into a supermarket and hid. Mr. Ayard called 911 and waited until police arrived and arrested the man. Mr. Ayard’s testimony at the preliminary hearing and his willingness to testify at trial helped prosecutors secure the man’s conviction,” the District Attorney’s office said.
During the trial, the defendant pleaded no contest to lewd conduct on a child and admitted kidnapping the victim.
Lacey recognized Ayard and the other honorees at the last Courageous Citizen Awards ceremony of the year, hosted by the Kiwanis Club of Northridge.
The District Attorney’s Office presents these awards several times a year to people who have performed extraordinary acts of valor and selflessness in assisting in criminal prosecutions, aiding victims, preventing crimes or even capturing suspects.