Armed West Virginia Mom Scares Off Would-Be Kidnapper, Thwarts Abduction Of 5-Year-Old Girl

Mohamed Fathy Hussein Zayan has been arrested in connection with this crime.

this is a stock photo of a woman holding a gun
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Mohamed Fathy Hussein Zayan has been arrested in connection with this crime.

A West Virginia woman used her gun to scare off a would-be kidnapper, scaring off a man who was allegedly attempting to abduct a 5-year-old girl, Parkersburg’s WTAP-TV reports.

The unidentified woman was shopping with her daughter at Barboursville’s Huntington Mall on Monday night. Between about 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. local (Eastern) time, when the two were at Old Navy, a man allegedly approached the couple. The man then allegedly grabbed the little girl by the hair, according to a police report, and when the girl wiggled free and fell to the ground, the man allegedly kept dragging her.

The woman pulled out her gun and told the man to let go of the girl, which he did, before fleeing the scene.

The mother told mall security personnel as well as Barboursville police about what happened. Not long afterward, a man matching the alleged abductor’s description was found still in the mall, according to West Virginia Metro News.

Police arrested Mohamed Fathy Hussein Zayan from Alexandria, Egypt, and took him downtown. He remains behind bars, charged with one felony count of attempted abduction of a child. His bond has been set at $200,000. He was also required to surrender his passport.

Zayan does not speak English, and an Arabic-speaking interpreter was used to conduct his arraignment. It remains unclear, as of this writing, what Zayan was doing in the United States generally, or in Barboursville, specifically.

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West Virginia, according to gun-rights website Guns to Carry, has some of the most liberal gun laws in the country. Specifically, the law allows for both concealed-carry and open-carry without a permit for all adults who aren’t otherwise legally forbidden from owning a firearm (such as those with prior felony convictions).

It remains unclear if Huntington Mall has or had at the time any policies about bringing firearms onto the property, as the mall’s website does not mention firearms specifically. What’s more, police may not even enforce such a rule if it exists, as Guns to Carry notes that West Virginia police do not enforce “No Guns Allowed” signs.

This is not the first time that an armed parent has used a legal firearm to protect his or her family. As Los Angeles’ KABC-TV reported at the time, in March 2017 a Florida woman heard the sounds of someone trying to break into her home. She quickly produced a shotgun and confronted the would-be burglar, who fled the scene.