Woodstock’s Octavio Ramirez had taken Aug. 11 off work to help his wife with a garage sale.
Just the day before, Ramirez and his family had seen a man at Olson Play Park, near his home, who was acting strangely. When they saw him again Friday, they kept a careful eye on him.
As the man, Kevin A. Sorensen, allegedly tore off after a 4-year-old boy who was riding his bicycle, Ramirez sprang into action.
“Once I saw him bear-hug and start shaking the kid, I knew this wasn’t his father,” Ramirez said.
As the scene unfolded, Sean Norton and Jonathon Hunt were driving by and heard the screams of children. They saw the event taking place from a different angle and immediately stopped to help.
“I saw a kid screaming and thought, ‘What is going on here?,” Norton said. “I acted on it.”
Norton, 24, owns SBC Property Management in Woodstock. Hunt, 23, works for him. Both men live in Woodstock, are fathers and have taken their preschoolers to Olson Play Park to play.
“The only thing going through my head was, ‘Stop this guy.’ When we saw what was happening, it was Sean who realized what was going on. I told myself, ‘This guy is not leaving,’ ” Hunt said.
Sorensen was restrained by Norton and Ramirez while Hunt called 911. Woodstock Police arrived on the scene shortly thereafter and charged Sorensen, a convicted child sex offender, with aggravated kidnapping, aggravated battery, aggravated criminal sexual abuse and unlawful restraint.
“I told the kids that they all did the right thing by getting our attention,” Norton said. He added the boy’s father and older sibling thanked them after the incident.
When he came home from work that day, Hunt’s 5-year-old daughter greeted him and asked him if it was true that he had saved a boy. She thought it was awesome, Hunt said.
Norton and Hunt went out to the Woodstock Square that evening to unwind and celebrate their efforts.
“I did what I hope anyone else would do,” Norton said. “Everyone’s saying I’m a hero. I’m not a hero. If everyone acted this way, our town would be a better place.”
Ramirez said if there had been nobody around to help and take down the man, he would have escaped.
“I thank God I took that day off. When I woke up Saturday morning, I was thankful my wife asked me to help with the garage sale. It could’ve been my kids,” Ramirez said.