Police have released surveillance video from an Oklahoma Walmart of a man who allegedly took a 2-year-old girl from a mother’s shopping cart and held a knife to the child’s throat.
Surveillance cameras at the Midwest City, Okla., Walmart were rolling June 17 when police shot and killed the suspect, Sammie Wallace, in the head at point-blank range and safely returned the toddler to her mother.
In the dramatic video, Wallace, 37, takes the toddler hostage while her mother, Alicia Keating, had her back to the shopping cart. Keating began to scream and pleaded with the suspect to return her daughter.
Keating’s older daughter was also present as the incident unfolded in front of panicked shoppers.
Law enforcement quickly moved in and evacuated the store. Police began more than 30 minutes of negotiations with Wallace and, at one point, even offered him a chair.
“He had a weapon in his hand. A knife-type weapon holding up against the child, threatening the child’s life,” Midwest City Assistant Police Chief Sid Porter said.
Police say Wallace was uncooperative and the situation quickly deteriorated, with the suspect making odd demands. The tipping point came when Wallace started an ominous 60-second countdown with the knife still close to the toddler’s neck.
“When a subject starts telling you that in 60 seconds he’s going to kill a hostage, that’s going to move you right up to the point that you will shoot him and that’s what occurred in this case,” ABC News consultant and former FBI agent Brad Garrett said.
With the situation growing intense, an officer distracted Wallace as Capt. David Huff moved in and fired a single deadly shot at his head.
“Obviously, our goal was to talk him down to get him to release the child,” Midwest City Police Chief Brandon Clabes said. “Unfortunately, we weren’t successful but we were successful in saving this child and the fact is that Capt. Huff’s actions were extremely heroic and he waited till the very last moment.”
The toddler was uninjured in the incident and returned to her mother, who was waiting for her at the front of the store.