Volunteers in West Fort Worth are stepping up to make sure children in their community make it to school safely after a 13-year-old girl was attacked right by her bus stop last week. Police are still searching for her attacker.
About 15 people met at the community outreach Restoration Center Monday night to plan their patrols for Tuesday morning. They say they want to be a presence to ward off anyone with bad intentions and let children know they're cared for.
Fort Worth police joined the meeting as well, offering advice on citizen "dos and dont's" and showing their support.
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Investigators also planned to hold a news conference Tuesday morning to provide an update on the investigation.
“It’s encouraging to see them wanting to stand up and say this is our community, and we’re gonna make sure that it’s safe,” said Commander Cynthia O’Neil of the Fort Worth Police West Division.
The volunteers plan to start at 6:15 Tuesday morning when kids are walking to the bus and again at 2:45 p.m. when they're heading home. They'll post up to watch and report in areas around Las Vegas Trail and Calmont.
That's the street where 13-year-old Dorika Wimana was attacked last Thursday morning right by her bus stop. Her family tells NBC 5 a strange man tried to grab her backpack and when she fought back, wound up choking her. She got away and has since been hospitalized with serious injuries.
The incident was a rallying call for a community that's had enough.
"I saw red,” said volunteer Mike Scott. “It's a mixture of anger and then empathy for her. It's kind of a mixed thing. But I know I can be effective doing something like this."
Pastor Derwin Harris, Director of Restoration Center added, "It's an opportunity for us to step up to another level and make sure our kids are safe."
"It's our responsibility to work to protect our children and that's not just the children in our homes, but that's the children of Fort Worth," said volunteer Renee Eiband. “We’re just hoping that these kids will feel safer to go to school and that they’ll see friendly faces and that they’ll know that they’re loved and cared for.”
Fort Worth police are still following leads to track down the attacker but so far no arrests.
In the meantime, volunteers say they plan to patrol through the end of the school year and pick it up again next fall. They’re looking for more volunteers to join them. Anyone interested should call Restoration Center at: (682) 385-9189.