Georges Laraque helped a family detain a suspect who allegedly tried to kidnap a seven-year-old child in a Montreal park on Saturday after family members tackled the suspect. Laraque saw that the young girl was with her parents in Jeanne-Mance Park, a popular downtown greenspace, when a man spoke to her.
The suspect, 24, then allegedly grabbed the girl and walked away, Larry Brown Sports reports. He didn’t make it far before being wrestled to the ground and detained by the former Canadian hockey player.
Nicole Legault and Georges Laraque, who was in the park at the time of the altercation, looked up when she heard a woman screaming hysterically. “She was obviously very upset,” Legault said. As a crowd gathered she began telling people that the man on the ground had tried to kidnap her child.
Laraque, 39, was playing in a celebrity baseball game in a nearby diamond when the commotion erupted. The game immediately stopped and a group ran over to see what happened, Georges said.
About 20 to 30 people surrounded the suspect to ensure he couldn’t leave the park until he was in police custody. “I just wanted to make sure that if he got up that I was going to tackle him right away,” said Georges Laraque, who racked up 1,126 penalty minutes over his 13-year NHL career, the New York Daily News reported.
Investigators are questioning a 24-year-old man. Police say the man may undergo a psychological evaluation.
Julien Harvey, the organizer of the Pouzza Grand Slam charity baseball game that Laraque played in, said it happened near the end of the game and one of the staff members called 911. The group stayed with the suspect and the family, according to Harvey.
“Someone from the gang just sat him [the suspect] down and at that point everybody just arrived on [the scene],” Harvey said. Some of the women also tried to calm and comfort the family.
The Montreal Canadiens released Georges Laraque in 2010. Laraque’s contract was officially bought out the same year. Shortly after, the former hockey player announced his retirement after suffering from two herniated discs in his back during the last season and a half that he had been playing.
Laraque took advantage of being released by the Canadiens to offer his help to Haiti, his country of ancestry, and began raising money to rebuild the Grace Children’s Hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in association with World Vision and the NHLPA.
While playing with the Oilers, Laraque was famous for his “Laraque Leap,” in which he would smash his body against the glass at the Rexall Place after the Oilers scored a goal. He then came out of retirement in 2015, joining Norway’s Lokomotiv Fana. Additionally, he is assistant coach of the Haiti street & ball hockey national team during the 2015 Streethockey World Championship in Zug, Switzerland.
The Digital Journal said Georges Laraque described the incident as “crazy,” adding that it made him feel “a little scared” as a father. “I have twins and this could happen to anyone,” Laraque said. “We’ve heard stories of a child being abducted and to see [something] like that — it’s pretty scary.”