When 9-year-old Luke Larson and his 7-year-old female friend were cutting through Flora Park in Gladstone, Missouri, on their way to summer school on Monday, their trek was abruptly interrupted by a man who tried to grab the girl.
The girl screamed for help, and Larson saw a man try to grab her from behind.
“I started running down toward them,” Larson told WDAF. "He tried to grab her again, then he realized I was coming down and he ran back into the woods."
In an interview with KCTV, the pint-sized hero said, “I felt upset and I felt mad because someone doing that to my friend, that's not really safe.”
The suspect, who has not been apprehended, was reportedly hiding in the brush. The victim kicked and screamed, and Larson grabbed her hand, forcing the man to abandon his attack.
Capt. Jeff Self of the Gladstone Police Department said the kids did the right thing.
"We tell kids that if they are approached by a stranger, grabbed by a stranger, to make noise to fight back,” he said.
Police have increased their patrol of the area and encouraged children to walk in groups and stay on main roads.
Larson brushed of the praise.
"I feel proud of myself but I don't want to be called a hero," he said. "I was just helping others."