A registered sex offender is accused of following young children home from school and possibly exposing himself.
Police have arrested Damien Garrett Burks, 27, after he was accused of following a group of children home from Park Avenue Enhanced Option Elementary School in Sylvan Heights.
Police said Burks waited until an 8-year-old girl was alone before he made his move.
The girl told police she continued walking home. She said the suspect drove slowly next to her, appeared to be touching himself and made lewd comments.
Then she said the man asked her if she wanted a ride home.
The 8-year-old said she immediately ran home and the suspect drove off after the Aug. 12 incident.
After an investigation, Burks was arrested Wednesday night and charged with solicitation of a minor and violating the terms of the sex offender registry.
"The children around here are very very smart children," said neighbor Jasmine Ware. "They know to run. They see me, they get to me, or they get to the nearest phone. They know that."
Jasmine and her mother, Lynn Ware, are on high alert. They said on multiple occasions they saw Burks following Lynn Ware's 10-year-old daughter and other children in the neighborhood.
"He would drive around real slow, and you could see the look on his face like he was looking at the little girls," said Jasmine Ware.
"My daughter's very afraid," added Lynn Ware "She's definitely trained to just run and scream, 'stranger stranger!' She's definitely trained for that."
Burks was previously convicted last month with having pornographic pictures of children on his home computer. He was already serving a 10-year suspended sentence when he was arrested again Wednesday night. He's charged with violating a state law that stops him from being within 1,000 feet of a public school.
"Last night he did make bond," said Kristin Mumford of the Metro Police Department. "This morning a probation violation warrant was issued, and he was once again arrested. He is in jail."
Even with that knowledge, Jasmine Ware said she's still watching over her little sister and the other neighborhood children.
"I just started walking them home, all the way home," she explained. "If their parents weren't home, I'd just stay with them until they got home. When you see stuff like that, you never know what's going to happen."
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