2009-05-22 / Top Stories

Local Fights Off Deranged Kid-Snatcher

By Howard Schwach

A Belle Harbor man fought off a deranged attacker who was trying to snatch his son from in front of the Kings Plaza shopping center in Brooklyn, police say.

Sources say that Butch Brandes, an off-duty fire department battalion chief, was walking with his eight-yearold son, Jack, on Flatbush Avenue, in front of the shopping center, when an unidentified man, reportedly disheveled and wild-eyed, suddenly ran up to him and started screaming that he wanted Jack, because he wasn't Brandes' son.

"He told me that my son was not my son," Brandes told The Wave, He was crazy, he kept saying that Jake was not my son."

Brandes managed to break away from the man and lock his son inside their parked car.

Brandes said that the man began to flail at him, attempting to get to the car and the young boy.

Brandes turned to confront him and to protect his son and the man grappled with him on the busy street.

The two wound up in the busy intersection of Flatbush Avenue and Avenue V, drawing dozens of onlookers.

Brandes said that nobody wanted to come to his aid. In fact, he says, some motorists honked their horns and yelled for him to get out of the road.

Brandes said that he boxed in his earlier days, and held his own with the tall, heavyset attacker, In fact, he said, he had pretty much knocked the man down when an onlooker, identified by police as Kevin Williams, grabbed the deranged man from behind and held him down.

"I had to do something," Williams told reporters.

The attacker was taken into custody. He was transported to the psychiatric ward at Kings County Hospital, officials said.

Criminal charges are pending.

Brandes suffered several bruises and cuts in the melee, but told reporters that he was more concerned about his son's emotional well-being.

"He was devastated by the whole thing, really upset," he told Daily News reporter Jonathan Lemire. It was a terrible, scary moment."

He added that his son was having nightmares over the attack, as was his daughter, who was not present for the assault.

"She told me she is scared because somebody tried to steal Jack," he said.

Police sources have declined to identify the man arrested in the assault.

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