Kidnapped coach tells his story to CBS News 8 - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Kidnapped coach tells his story to CBS News 8

Posted: Updated:

SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - A man accused of abducting a batting coach and his teenage student at Hickman Field in Kearny Mesa last week, then committing a carjacking to make his getaway, was arrested in Orange County on Saturday following a high-speed chase.    

See related story: [Carjacking suspect arrested after crime spree

Dylan Graham, an assistant baseball coach at St. Augustine High School, was with one of his players at the batting cages last Wednesday when a stranger came into the cage initially asking for a cigarette and then, without warning, pulled out a gun.

“My first reaction was to get on the ground. He yelled at me to stand up, get in the car," said baseball coach Dylan Graham

The alleged suspect, later identified as Ira Stringer, then forced Graham and his sixteen year old player Jack into Dylan's Jeep at gunpoint.

"I just kept saying, 'don’t hurt us. You can have whatever you want in the car. Whatever you need,'" said Dylan.

Forty-five-year-old Stringer sat in the back seat of the Jeep with the gun aimed on Dylan who was ordered to drive to Ramona while Jack sat in the front passenger seat. Graham believed that Stringer was planning to lead them to a remote area in the woods.

"It seemed like that was what was going to happen. He was going to take the car and kill us and then he would be on his way,” said Dylan.

As the miles went by, Dylan knew he had to do something to save both Jack and himself.

"I just kind of saw an opportunity and took it," said Dylan.

The opportunity came when Dylan spotted the suspect distracted, trying to light a cigarette.

"I snuck my left hand behind my seatbelt and in one move, I just let go and hopped on him and got my hands around his wrist," said Dylan.

The car veered across Wildcat Canyon Road, crashing the Jeep into an embankment. At that point, Stringer fired three rounds just as Jack managed to escape and run for help.

"It’s a good thing because there was a hole through the passenger seat and a bullet did go right by my head and out of the windshield," said Dylan.

Dylan then wrestled the gun out of the suspect's grasp. Both of them exited the Jeep through separate sides and ended up face to face outside of the wrecked car. Dylan then fired two warning shots near the suspect before the gun ran out of bullets. Dylan says he is thankful he didn't kill the suspect, even if he had intended to kill him.

"That would have been a hard thing to live with. This was traumatic enough. I am happy I don’t have to deal with that too," said Dylan.

Ira Stringer then went on to carjack another driver and was later arrested over the weekend after an armed robbery in Orange.

Dylan's loved ones have set up a fund to help him cover the cost of hospital bills and replace his vehicle which was totaled in the crash.

Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 Midwest Television, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.