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Stranger Stabs Toddler As Family Changes Tire On Freeway In Random, Baffling Attack

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A 44-year-old man was arrested after he allegedly stabbed a toddler in a random attack as the child's family was changing their flat tire on the side of a freeway in Riverside County this week.CHP said the family-of-five's 1990 Mazda hatchback was on the shoulder of the 215 Freeway near Newport Road in Menifee around 1:20 a.m. on Monday when Nicholas Lopez Garcia spotted them from across the freeway and ran across all the lanes, KABC reports. Garcia then used a broken freeway paddle marker—a pipe-shaped item made of hard plastic—to allegedly smash the driver's side window, and then break the back window.

"He then reached in for an 18-month-old male child, which was seated in the back seat, and tried pulling the male child out of the car and then began using the plastic object as a weapon, stabbing the 18-month-old child," said CHP Officer Mike Lassig.

Four adults, which included the toddler's mother, eventually managed to fight off Garcia after a struggle. They got in their car, drove away, and called 9-1-1.

When authorities arrived, they found Garcia lighting the family's personal belongings left behind on fire. They quickly put out the fire and gave Garcia commands, but he didn't listen to them, CHP said. That's when they Tasered Garcia, who's 6-feet-tall and weights 250 pounds, and took him into custody.

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The mother and child were rushed to a local hospital where they were treated for non-life-threatening cuts. The toddler had cuts to his neck and hands.

Investigators said Garcia was the under the influence of a drug, but did not elaborate further, NBC Los Angeles reports.

Authorities booked Garcia at the Southwest Detention Center on suspicion of attempted murder, willfull harm to a child, assault with a deadly weapon, resisting arrest and being under the influence. His bail is set at $1 million, and he is expected to be arraigned in court today.