GASTON COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - A Good Samaritan took action when he saw two children trying to cross a busy street in Gastonia with no adult around. Now the children's father, Tequan Raymond King, is facing charges.
Gastonia Police say when an officer tried to escort the children back home, King came out and hit the children. King was arrested on the spot. The children are with their mother, and DSS is involved.
Daniel Byrd doesn't know what came over him, but his actions possibly saved the life of the 5-year-old boy and his 3-year-old sister. The two kids left their family apartment and tried crossing North New Hope Road in Gastonia near I-85. That's when Byrd stepped in.
"If something were to happen to those kids, I would never be the same," said Byrd. "[The boy] held up his hand to stop traffic and the car didn't even see him until it swerved just in time."
Byrd says he and his wife quickly ran after the kids and called 911. Police showed up within minutes to make sure the kids were OK, but to the 5-year-old boy, Byrd says, the officers did not seem comforting.
"The boy was just terrified. I guess in his mind, he was going to jail."
Byrd says he stuck around as officers were taking the kids back home just for his own comfort. He says he saw the situation go from bad to worse.
"I don't know," he said. "I don't have any words for that."
Police say as they tried to hand the two kids over to their father, King started slapping the kids on the head right in front of them.
"It looked like abuse to me," Byrd said. "I mean, it was a pretty hard slap upside the head."
King was taken to jail and now faces two counts of assault for hitting his kids and two other charges for allowing them to wander away from the apartment while under his watch.
WBTV went to the apartment where the King family stays to try to speak to the mother, but no one answered the door.
Byrd says both kids looked well-kept and had nice clothes on when he rescued them. He's not only a parent himself but a grandparent. He said he knows handling kids can be a rocky road but believes there's no reasonable excuse as to why something like this ever happened.
"I know that they can get on your last nerve, but you gotta keep them safe, and if you're not keeping a 3 and 5-year-old safe, that's not on the kid - that's definitely on you."
King will be in court at the end of the month for his charges.