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Victor Perez Hailed as Hero for Rescue of Abducted 8-Year-Old Calif. Girl

Calif. Man Honored for Helping Rescue Abducted Girl
Victor Perez on "The Early Show." (CBS)

FRESNO, Calif. (CBS/KGPE) Dozens of California residents joined the Governor, Mayor and Police Chief at Fresno City Hall Thursday to honor good samaritan Victor Perez, who authorities say chased down a kidnapper and helped free an 8-year-old girl.

Perez said on Tuesday he spotted the suspect's red pickup truck, which he recognized from media reports, in front of his home. He then jumped in his own vehicle and pursued the truck, cutting it off three times until the girl could escape. Perez stayed with the child and called 911. Shortly thereafter police arrested 24-year-old Gregorio Gonzalez, an alleged member of the Bulldogs street gang.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called Perez a hero and made a pitch for local businesses to hire the construction worker who has been unemployed for three years, according to CBS affiliate KGPE.

"This is absolutely extraordinary. He forced the suspect's truck off the road. I mean when you think about it, Hollywood couldn't write better action scenes," said Gov. Schwarzenegger.

Perez, a legal resident who was born in Ensenada, Mexico, appeared moved by the ceremony honoring his selfless actions. Mayor Ashley Swearengin proclaimed Thursday "Victor Perez Day."

Perez was humble.

"I just give thanks to that family, that the baby is back together with the mom, he said as cameras flashed. "That's the real hero to me, the daughter and the mom being back together. Thank you."

Gonzalez was charged with eight felony counts, including multiple counts of rape and kidnapping of a child. He was scheduled to be arraigned Friday.

Perez came to the United States as a young child and attended school in Fresno. He recently returned to live with a cousin after a stint in San Diego and has been picking grapes to make ends meet, he said. But he's hoping to be back in the construction workforce soon. 

October 6, 2010 - Good Samaritan Trailed Vehicle Carrying Kidnapped 8-Year-Old, Saves Girl