A San Diego County girl who had taken martial arts training used a kung fu move to stop her own kidnapping attempt over the weekend, her mother said.
Police were called to the home in the 1300 block of Hawk Lane about 4 a.m. Sunday, according to a news release from the El Cajon Police Department.
A man had removed a ground-floor screen window and entered the girl's family's condominium unit, going into a second-floor bedroom shared by the 8-year-old girl and her 6-year-old brother, who were both asleep, police said.
"After the victim was awakened by the suspect, she struck him, causing him to flee the home," the release stated.
The girl's mother told KTLA sister station KSWB in San Diego that her child was picked up by the man and -- as he carried her down the stairs -- she struck him in the neck area.
The little girl told KSWB she woke up as the man got to the "fourth stair."
"She applied pressure to his throat using a technique she had learned in kung fu," said her mother. "She said he put her down and he ran one way, down the stairs, and she ran up the stairs."
The man came back a second time, saw the girl was awake, and left, according to the mother, who gave her name to KSWB as Janie Sue. He left the front door open when he fled, she said.
The family has since installed a new security system.
"Just with the sense of security, maybe that will help, on top of the fact that my daughter knew the self-defense," the mother said.
She called the incident "proof" that self-defense classes can be needed.
The victim did not appear to be injured and nothing was taken from the home, El Cajon police Lt. Rob Ransweiler told KSWB.
"She's scared, but she's also empowered," her mother said.
Police described the attempted kidnapper as a man with tanned skin, dark “fluffy” hair, a thin build, 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 10 inches tall, and having a strong odor.
The mother said her daughter described him as smelling like garbage. The little girl also said he was wearing a backpack with multiple zippers.
A nearby condo also had a screen removed from a window in an incident that appeared to have happened Sunday morning, police said.
El Cajon police and a San Diego County Sheriff’s Department K-9 team searched for the man but didn't find him.