MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (KTVU) - It's a frightening ordeal for a South bay family after police said a masked woman tried to snatch a toddler and then attacked a grandma near Fairmont Park in Mountain View. The kidnapping attempt happened Wednesday afternoon and on Thursday, police arrested 31-year-old Schauntel Gomez, who they said, is a transient from the Monterey County area.
"It's very surprising to me that something would happen here. It's a very quiet street," said Camille Desinger of Mountain View.
Long-time residents who live on Fairmont Avenue in Mountain View are stunned to hear about an attempted stranger abduction in their neighborhood park. Police said, at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Gomez came out of nowhere wearing a white mask and walked up to a mother, grandmother and small child.
"They told us a woman had driven up, stopped, got out of her car, came over and said I am here to take your child," said Katie Nelson of Mountain View Police.
The suspect then tried to snatch the toddler. A grandmother's instinct kicked in.
"When grandma saw what was going on, grandma intervened and was able to protect the toddler," said Nelson. "Unfortunately she was battered in the process and suffered some wounds to her head."
Gomez then threatened to hurt the mother before driving off in a Toyota Camry.
Less than 12 hours later, at 2 a.m. police spotted Gomez's car at a nearby Shell gas station. Inside her car, police found a white mask and drug paraphernalia including a meth pipe.
"She has a huge drug problem," said Roy De La Cruz, suspect's former friend. "It's meth, coke she'll do whatever."
De La Cruz said he last spoke to Gomez six months ago. The former co-worker and friend said Gomez grew up in Watsonville, had a troubled upbringing and has three daughters who are now staying with other family members.
"Shock," said de la Cruz. "I didn't think she would get to that level. Why are you snatching the baby if not to make money off it? I think she's done things that are not reputable to make money off of it."
"How dare them?," said Desinger. "They are coming into this community, yet this is happening everywhere. I just didn't think it would happen here."
It's unclear why the suspect was in the area, if she was under the influence of drugs or suffers from a mental illness. Gomez is currently staying at Elmwood Jail in Milpitas with bail set at $81,000.
She's due in court on Monday facing charges of attempted kidnapping, criminal threats, battery and possession of drug paraphernalia.