Kassiopeia O'Melay has always been homeschooled. Last week was her first week ever in Willard Middle School. She drove home on Russell Street at 5:10 Friday afternoon. It's a popular bike route. She sensed a car following her and police say a man jumped out of the passenger seat and stole her backpack from the basket of the bike and pushed her down.
"I still can't get the image out of my head," she said.
Her father says she's shaken by the incident. "It's been so exciting to see Kassiopeia ride her bike to school and be in charge and have all the confidence. She's scared now, you know," Karl said.
The family says neighbors gave surveillance video to police. They are most disturbed about how deliberate the attack was, targeting a girl on a bike.
Kassiopeia was worried about her lost homework. In the end, the community pitched into an Amazon registry and everything was replaced, including her bike.
"I was really surprised that so quickly all of my things were replaced and that so many people care," she said.
"It's both sides of humanity in the same story; the worst of it and the best of it," Karl said.