Three local teenagers who chased an alleged rape suspect from Kofu Park to Lodi Memorial Hospital were recognized at Wednesday night’s Lodi City Council meeting.
“We hear a lot of people talk negatively about the youths of the community. ... But periodically, the youths of the community step up and do what’s right,” Mayor Bob Johnson said.
Lodi Middle School students Dillon Buck, Nick Smith and another student, who did not want his name in the paper, received proclamations.
“This was a very serious crime these young gentleman came across in the park,” Police Chief Mark Helms said. “I’m absolutely certain that outcome would be very different if they wouldn’t have stepped up.”
The three boys often spend their afternoons at the skate park at Kofu Park. In late September, police say a 26-year-old had sex with a 13-year-old in one of the bathrooms near the skate park when the boys stepped in.
The three have also been nominated for an annual police department award, which is given out in the spring, Helms said.
On Sept. 25, Buck said he went into the bathroom and recognized the 13-year-old from middle school.
Buck then ran outside and the three boys told some of the other youths in the skate park, and they started to gather around the bathroom.
When the 26-year-old man came out, Dylan said everyone was screaming and yelling at him, and the 13-year-old girl was crying.
The group threatened to call the police and the man started to run down Mills Avenue.
The group of skate park teens then started to chase the suspect down Mills Avenue until he went into Lodi Memorial Hospital. Many of the people dispersed, but the three boys called the police, who then came and arrested the man. They also stayed to give the police statements.
Police arrested Donald Mack Bush at the hospital on suspicion of the crime, and he is facing felony charges of lewd acts on a child and raping a drugged victim. He is still in the preliminary stages of the court process.
Buck and Smith both said they felt they needed to step in because what was happening was wrong.
“It’s really not the right thing to be happening. If he was going to do something to this girl, we were going to do something to him,” Buck said.
Both boys said they wish they could have done more, but they were much younger and smaller than the man.
“If I were older, we would’ve done something about it. We would’ve stopped it beforehand,” Buck said.
Ron Buck said he was proud of his son when he came home that night and told him what happened.
“My reaction was one of shock that something like that would take placed over there. I was pleased and proud of Dillon that as a young teen, he and his friends would step up, do the right thing and then follow through,” he said.
Even after the incident, Ron Buck still allows his son to go to the skate park.
“You have the skaters who skate for hobby and are good kids. I always knew that Dillon and his circle of friends are different than those you see who tear it up and destroy it and give the skate park a bad name,” Ron Buck said.