UPDATE: A 48-year-old man is charged with kidnapping and cruelty to children after it was reported he grabbed children at a Dalton park.
Dalton Police arrested Jeffrey Melvin Bishop Wednesday evening. According to officials, witnesses at Al Rollins Park reported Bishop touched at least two children, grabbed one boy by the arms from behind and holding him against his will until the boy's father intervened.
One family reported that Bishop chased a 3-year-old girl near a swing set, telling police the man told the girl she was pretty and to come to him. The girl's mother told him to leave -- she also reported that she saw Bishop touch a boy.
Shortly after that, officials say Bishop approached a group of boys and started to talk to them, but he was ignored. A 10-year-old boy told officers that Bishop grabbed him by the wrist and tried to get him to go into the woods with him. The boy refused. Police say the suspect then grabbed a 9-year-old boy by his arms as he was tying his shoes. That child's father was able to help him get away by saying police were being called.
Officers got a suspect description and were able to locate Bishop on Thornton Avenue near Cedar Street and determined that he was intoxicated.
According to the incident report, police asked Bishop if he had any contact with children and he said he had "played" with some children, but had no physical contact. They said when was searched they found a large pocket knife in his left pocket. Bishop told police he had the knife in his pocket for hunting.
"You're talking about a situation that had to be terrifying for the children and had to be really alarming for the parents there too," said Bruce Frazier, a spokesperson for the Dalton Police Department. "This was a very unusual incident but I think it does underlined the fact that parents do need to be aware of what's going on they need to keep an eye on their kids."
After further interviews with witnesses, officers arrested Bishop and shared him with battery, kidnapping, false imprisonment, cruelty to children in the first degree, and pedestrian under the influence. At the jail, Bishop was also served with a Whitfield County warrant for failure to appear.
Anyone who may have had contact with the Bishop, you're asked to contact either Officer Katia Gonzalez at 706-278-9085 (dial 9 and enter extension 545) or Detective Brian Shirley at 706-278-9085 (dial 9 and enter extension 189).