A man in his underwear jumped through a window at a crisis pregnancy center in Northeast D.C. on Wednesday and then choked a 4-year-old girl who was outside with her mother, police say.
Idreis Alexander Augustus, 28, was charged with child cruelty and assault with intent to kill after the alleged rampage. He was covered in blood after jumping through the window, witnesses said.
Witnesses told police it looked like Augustus was trying to kill the girl, police chief Peter Newsham said about the rare random attack on a child.
"For unknown reasons, he began strangling the child in a very violent way," Newsham said.
The witnesses came to her rescue and were able to free her from Augustus' grip.
The girl was taken to a hospital with injuries that were not believed to be life-threatening.
Augustus, of Springfield, Virginia, was riding in a car with friends when he suddenly got out, police said. He ran to the Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center at 7th Street and Maryland Avenue NE.
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Employees had just closed the building for the day when they saw a man in his underwear acting strangely outside, Director Janet Durig said. They called her in a panic.
Augustus jumped headfirst through a narrow window of the building shortly before 5 p.m., police said. He fell into the basement of the building and dripped blood, the director said. Blood spilled onto children's clothing and toys that were supposed to be donated to clients. Instead, they will be thrown out.
The staff members who were inside the crisis pregnancy center at the time ran outside to escape, the director said.
Police say Augustus then left the building, ran two blocks east to 9th Street NE and came face to face with the little girl and her mother. He grabbed the child and put her in a "choke hold," police said.
Witnesses helped the child and were able to detain Augustus. They flagged down officers, who arrested him. He also was taken to a hospital.
Police believe Augustus was under the influence of a substance, D.C.'s police chief said. A toxicology screening is underway.
Augustus is charged with assault with intent to kill, first-degree cruelty to children and destruction of property. He's expected in court next week.
Durig said she was "heartsick" for the child and her mother.