Two San Diego-area women are being applauded for stopping a man accused of slashing the arms of his eight-year-old son because he heard “voices in his head.”
The women, Jaymisha Pires and Corey Granberry, both 21, were visiting Mount Hope Cemetery in San Diego Saturday afternoon when they saw Joseph Ramirez, 30, who was holding three children by a grave surrounded with plastic bottles and candles.
Police told ABC San Diego affiliate KGTV that Ramirez said he heard the voice of his dead grandmother telling him to sacrifice the boy, then took a piece of broken glass and slashed the boy’s forearms.
That’s when Pires, who herself has two small children, started begging Ramirez to let the kids go.
“My motherly instincts kicked in when I saw him hurting that little boy,” said Pires to the San Diego Union Tribune.
“It was a blur. I just wanted him to stop.”
Pires told KGTV the boy was pleading with his father. “He was like, ‘Daddy, no… Don’t hurt me, ow,’ because his arms were hurting.”
Granberry quoted the man as saying, “”I want to sacrifice him. He needs to go with grandma or mom’ or something.”
“I was just asking him, ‘Can you give me the kids?’ said Pires. “He was like, ‘No, these are my kids. We’re going to Jesus.’”
Ramirez let the two other children go. He finally shoved the boy aside and ran.
Granberry grabbed the boy, who was bleeding badly, and wrapped a T-shirt around one of his arms.
The Union Tribune reports that Ramirez was tackled by Dana Fontenot, a 60-year-old security guard who was on his third day working at the cemetery.
“It’s all in a day’s work,” Fontenot told the paper.
The boy was taken to Rady Children’s Hospital. Police tell ABC News he has now been released. The names of the children have not been made public.
Ramirez is being held at San Diego’s central jail on suspicion of attempted first-degree murder and cruelty to a child. He is scheduled to be arraigned on Wednesday.