SAN DIEGO — Police officials are searching for the suspect in an attempted kidnapping of a 9-year-old girl waiting for her mom to pick her up near a Carmel Mountain Ranch school on Tuesday.

Around 2 p.m., the child was approached by a man who told her to follow him while she was waiting for her mom at the corner of Shoal Creek Drive and Stoney Gate Place, near Shoal Creek Elementary School in the Carmel Mountain Ranch neighborhood, Lt. Adam Sharki said in a news release.

San Diego Police Department provided a sketch of the suspect connected to the kidnapping attempt of a 9-year-old girl in the Carmel Mountain Ranch neighborhood on Jan. 25, 2023. (San Diego Police Department)

The girl initially refused, prompting the man to grab her by the wrist and drag her with him. According to SDPD, she was able to break free and run to safety.

The suspect was described as a 5’11,” possibly Hispanic man with a slim build. He was reportedly wearing dark pants and black shoes, as well as a ski mask. The girl said he smelled of alcohol.

At this time, officers are still searching for the suspect, both overhead and on the ground around the school.

“We want our families and staff to be on high alert, especially if your children attend/walk to and from school near Shoal Creek Elementary School in the Carmel Mountain area,” Poway Unified School District wrote in an email to parents Tuesday.

In the safety alert email, PUSD said law enforcement is characterizing the incident as a kidnapping given the nature of the incident, even though the student is safe.

SDPD encourages anyone with information on the attempted kidnapping to contact law enforcement or Crime Stoppers at 619-235-8477.