A man grabbed a 9-year-old girl’s hair, threw her to the ground and sexually assaulted her Friday afternoon along the busy H Street corridor of Northeast Washington, D.C. police said.

The startling attack occurred near 7th and H streets when the man approached the girl from behind, dragged her to the ground and sexually assaulted just after 12:30 p.m., officials said. A witness intervened and pulled the man away from the girl and he fled.

Officers stopped a suspect a short time later near 8th and I streets NE and that man was later identified as the assailant, according to police.

Authorities charged Demetrius Littlejohn, 27, of Northeast, with second degree sexual assault.

The victim was taken to a hospital but she did not appear to suffer serious physical injury, police said.