DETROIT (WXYZ) - "He started choking me. He tried to cover my mouth and he told me to shut up," said 16-year-old Symphony about the man who tried to abduct her as she walked to school Thursday morning.
Symphony and her parents talked about her ordeal with 7 Action News Friday in hopes that it will encourage others to be more alert.
7 Action News is withholding their last names.
Symphony's father, who goes by the name "Big Al", says he has always taught his daughter to fight back.
"Don't let nobody do nothing to you, period. Kick. Scream," he says. "Do whatever you got to do to get away from them and that's what she did."
"I didn't sleep last night," said Latia, Symphony's mother. "All I thought about was what if he had gotten her into that van."
Moments before the masked stranger attacked the teen, he parked his dark-colored vehicle next to the garage of an abandoned house in the area of Outer Driver and Chandler Park on Detroit's east side.
With her parents sitting beside her, Symphony told 7 Action News about the moment she first noticed the stranger.
"He was kneeling down on the side of the van and when he saw me, he just pulled his mask down. He jumped out and threw me in the snow," said Symphony who managed to reach the mace she always carries and spray it at her attacker as he choked her.
But the man continued to try to push Symphony towards his vehicle.
A man driving by could see something was wrong and stopped to help. People living nearby also began to emerge from their homes.
The attacker ran off as several people were responding to Symphony's cries for help.
Symphony and her parents are thankful to those who comforted her and called Detroit Police.
"Don't freeze up when someone is attacking you. Fight back," says Symphony's dad, Big Al. "Fight until you can't fight no more."
Big Al hopes to be working extra hours at work and is considering taking out a loan to be able to fix LaTia's car so that Symphony doesn't have to take the bus to school. After taking the bus, the teen still has to walk several blocks.
"That's my daughter and, if I would've caught him, I would've killed him," said Big Al. " It don't make sense for a grown man to be out here messing with any kids."
Detroit Police are still searching for a suspect.