Local/State

Police: Man tried to kidnap children at school

Friday, February 08, 2013

Police say a man walked into a Southern Pines Head Start program and attempted to kidnap two children.

A spokesperson for the Southern Pines Police Department said 20-year-old Damitri Johan Shaheed Vamper is charged with two felony counts of attempted kidnapping and possession of marijuana after the incident in the 1400 block of W. Indiana Avenue just after 9 a.m. Thursday.

According to an arrest report, Vamper walked into the Head Start building, produced an ID card, and said he was there to collect two children.

Head Start workers did not recognize Vamper, and an investigation showed he had no relationship with the two children he claimed he was there to pick up.

"He said, 'What, I can't have these children? I'll kill if I have to,'" recalled Head Start Director Veleda McCormick. "And I said 'Well baby, you're not going to kill anybody here today, I'mma need you to leave the building.' and at that point is when I got him out of the building."

McCormick said once she was able to get Vamper out of the building, the police were called and the Head Start program was put into lockdown. Vamper was arrested a short distance away from the school.

Police said they found him directing traffic at Highway 15 and Morganton Road. Vamper was taken to the Moore County Jail where he was being held under a $150,000 bond.

Vamper's grandfather spoke with ABC11 Friday. He told us his grandson is bipolar, schizophrenic and was in the hospital a couple of days ago.

"When I heard, I said 'Oh God, what has this boy done now?" said Joseph Vamper.

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