ANTIOCH -- A baby girl allegedly abducted Monday morning by her father was found safe hours later, but the child's grandmother said authorities had "blown out of proportion" reports that the man had fired a gun in the air during the incident.
Authorities issued an Amber Alert after Joshua Elijah Benton, 24, allegedly grabbed his 11-month-old daughter, Justice Alasheia Benton, from a home during a domestic dispute in the area of Rainier and Sunset lanes at 10:19 a.m.
Police said they received reports Joshua Benton fired one shot into the air from a handgun and got in the passenger side of a dark green Dodge Grand Caravan or Plymouth with tinted windows. Police quickly issued an Amber Alert and began searching the area.
Around 12:45 p.m., police were tipped to Joshua Benton's location not far from his home. As officers approached, he handed the child off to relatives, then fled on foot, according to an Antioch police news release.
Antioch resident Earlene Norbert, mother of the suspect and grandmother of the infant, said that her son, his girlfriend and his daughter are all a "little family" and disputed the police account of the events.
Norbert said a neighbor heard her son and his girlfriend in a disagreement Monday morning and called police. That was when things went "haywire," she said, and that things got "blown out of proportion."
"(Joshua) is not armed and dangerous and he does not have a gun," she said. "My son is scared and doesn't want to be (shot by police)."
In addition to Joshua Benton, authorities said there was a second person who was driving the vehicle in which Benton escaped. Norbert said she did not know anything about that person.
Joshua Benton is described as a light-skinned black man last seen wearing white shorts, a blue shirt, flip flops and a brown hat; police described him as armed and dangerous. Antioch police did not provide a description of the driver of the van.
Staff writer Katie Nelson contributed to this report.