“’I did not maintain my composure. I was completely freaked out,’ (Alicia Keating) said. ‘I wanted to reach out and grab her but he had a knife. There was nothing I could do but stand there and beg for her life.’” Other shoppers in the Midwest City, Oklahoma Wally World dialed 911 when Sammie Wallace snatched Keating’s daughter, 2-year-old Zoey, from a shopping cart. “’Here’s this huge man standing there with my daughter in his arms and he has a knife pointing towards her side,’ Keating said on TODAY in a segment that aired Wednesday. ‘He said really quietly, ‘Hey, little mamma. You see this knife?’’” . . .

Midwest City, Okla., police cleared the store as soon as they arrived. They negotiated for more than 30 minutes with the suspect, Sammie Wallace, who continued to hold a knife to the toddler’s neck. At one point, they gave Wallace a chair and talked with him one-on-one, according to the video.

Police said Wallace then started a 60-second countdown that the suspect warned would end up with him harming the child.

Ultimately, this little drama was a DGU. Thankfully. That’s because Midwest City PD Capt. David Huff, concerned by what might happen when the nut-job counted down to zero, calmly walked up to Wallace and put his lights out with one shot to the head. (The video above ends just before the shot is fired.)

Fortunately, everyone’s just fine. Well, other than Wallace. There will be no shortage of people who hold this incident up as a good example of why only the police should be armed. All’s well that end’s well, right? Only a lot of horrifyingly awful things could have happened to that little girl – and others in the store – in the time it took the local 5-0 to respond.

Oklahoma has very liberal gun laws. Concealed carry license holders are free to tote their sidearm either concealed or openly as the mood strikes them. You can check out the application process here, Mrs. Keating. Just FYI.    (h/t Leo J. and Dr. Vino)

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61 Responses to It Should Have Been a DGU: WalMart Snatch and Grab Edition

      • He did the right thing. And from the video the bad guy also did the right thing, finally. He had to have seen that kill shot coming and he could easily have stuck the knife in that little girl. A mentally disturbed man seeking suicide by cop. It’s too bad he had to involve the little girl.

        Maybe he was concerned that in a 1 to 1 with the cops and no hostage he would survive the gunfire?

        • The cop got inside the bad guy’s OODA loop; he couldn’t assimilate the change in the officer’s stance & what was happening before his options became zero.
          A bold & timely move.

        • Exactly! OODA is a continuous process, get in the conversation, get them invested in the conversation, then 180 the conversation and use the time that the BG is going “WTF” to pop him a new one right in the face.

  1. Back in the 1980’s, my uncle was in a bank when a guy walked up to the teller and shoved a revolver in her face and told her to give him all the money. Most everyone freaked out and started running and screaming, except one guy. He calmly walked up behind the guy and shot him in the back of the head with a 1911 (angled such that a through and through would not hit the teller). He was a private citizen with a permit. That was the day my Uncle decided he didn’t like being defenseless and became a gun owner shortly thereafter. Oh, and the perp died instantly. No charges were filed.

    • I’m curious of what could happen in this type of situation. Could the responsible armed citizen face manslaughter charges?

      What about the situation in the video? Same deal?

      • I am sure that in some parts of the country, the DA would try to trump something up. But, I think most places the guy would be a hero and no charges would be filed since another person was in imminent physical danger when he used lethal force.

      • Responding to a violent attack with lethal force is justifiable when a “reasonable person” would reasonably be in fear of their life or great bodily harm. This legal construct also applies to a Good Samaritan who is not actually the victim of an attack. (If the victim would reasonably be in fear of their life or great bodily harm during an attack, a bystander is legally justified to intervene on their behalf with lethal force.)

        Please note that legal protection only applies during a violent attack. The attack either has to be in process or immediately imminent and the attacker has to actually have the means (physical capability or a weapon) to cause great bodily harm or death.

        In the case of the bank robbery stated above and the man who kidnapped the child in the Walmart, a reasonable person would reasonably be in fear for their life. And the attack was in process. Therefore the victims as well as citizens would have been justified to use lethal force against the criminals.

        Had I been in that Walmart, I would have immediately looked for an opportunity to stop the criminal without harming anyone else. Like the good Samaritan in the bank robbery example, that means getting into position to be able to shoot the criminal without harming anyone else should you miss or if the bullet passes through the criminal and keeps on going.

        • You are most welcome SD3.

          Please note that I am not an attorney. (Nor do I play one on television.)

          What I described is standard in every state that I have researched. And even if some backwards state wanted to prosecute a Good Samaritan for saving an innocent victim’s life, there is not a jury in the world that would find a guilty verdict if a case somehow did go to court.

          There is an extremely important caveat: never intervene unless you have seen everything from the start and you are 1000% sure who is the violent criminal and who is the victim. In the case of a spree killer, it is pretty obvious to a passerby (who missed the start of the attack) that the spree killer is indeed a violent criminal attacking people and needs to be stopped. In many other situations, it could be nearly impossible to determine who is the criminal and who is the victim — especially if the victim defends themselves and manages to get the upper hand or if the victim has a better weapon than the criminal attacker. There is also the possibility that an armed and concerned citizen — who is neither the attacker nor the victim — has intervened.

  2. That cop did a great job. The story I read said before he took the shot (not shown in the video above) he walked around the corner to make sure he had a round in the chamber and the gun was ready to go, because he knew he’d only get one shot at it if the time came. When the time did come, another cop stepped out into the perp’s line of sight to get his attention to allow the other guy just a moment’s distraction to get the job done.

    I’m not blaming the mom, not by a long shot, but what if she’d been armed, and trained, and prepared? What if she’d been standing in front of the guy with a GLOCK-brand GLOCK instead of a smartphone? I’ll probably get heat for this, but I have to be honest, I don’t think it would have worked out as well as it did. The guy apparently had the knife in his hand from the moment he picked up the kid, so if mom had tried to draw on him, I feel like that would have been the end of the little girl. The only way this would have worked was the way it did; it had to come from ambush, more or less.

    The final conclusion is that the cop did a great job, and everyone is very, very lucky that it worked out the way it did. That situation was balanced on a knife edge, no pun intended, with fifteen different ways it could go wrong, and really only one way that it could go right. I’m very happy that the cop found that one way.

    • In this situation, yeah, I agree. That said, if enough of these bastards get shot to death trying, it might make the next one’s stupid, savage brain think twice before putting a knife to a little girl’s throat in the first place.

    • I want to be very clear about a point I made in the middle of my textwall. I think that if the mom had been armed, and attempted to use her gun, this would have ended tragically. An armed bystander maybe would have given a positive outcome. Maybe. But unless mom was very well trained (unlikely), given the circumstances I think the odds on a positive outcome would run around 50:1 against.

      • Good point about the mom vs. the armed bystander.

        The latter, had they a good laser targeting system could well have been in a rested aiming position, i.e., standing behind a nearby endcap, resting his hands on a shelf, targeting the head of the perp from the side. Neither the mom nor the child in the line of fire.

        The perp would be focusing on the terror he was generating in the mom.

        The thing could have been all over before the police even arrived.

      • Matt, you were clear, just like I was when I said I agreed with your assessment before making the additional and tangentially related point that we need more good guys with guns and more bad guys with lead slugs in the brainpan.

    • The hostage taker gave the mom his phone and told her to call the cops. I think it’s pretty obvious he was trying to commit suicide by cop. That being said, a bullet from an armed citizen kills just as effectively as the cops.

      Obviously the concern is secondary, but I’m sure that little girl suffered some serious hearing damage with a shot that close.

    • You don’t have kids do you Matt? You would have drawn in a heartbeat if it was your daughter, consequences be dammed. She should have been no different.

      • I’m not sure how my last post got spam filtered, for fvck’s sake. All it said was:

        “You’re right. I don’t and I probably would.”

        • Every now and then I think that happens to me. I post something but it doesn’t show up…..

          …..until several hours later.

        • @Chuck: I usually email to get released from the filter, and don’t complain about it. I just normally assume that I wrote (or miswrote) something that twigged the filter. In this case, I knew what I wrote, word for word, and couldn’t figure out why it happened. Just weird.

      • TO: Joke & Dagger
        RE: For My Own Daughters….

        …..I have serioius doubts if I could constrain myself not to do serious damange to any man who hurt my daugther(s). I have two. One was in an abusive relationship and I have to talk and pray myself out of driving halfway across the country to deal with the cretin.

        Indeed. When my first wife divorced me to marry a man old enough to be her father—who left his family of 20 years for her—I informed him that I’d rip his head off and shiite down his throat if he harmed my daughter by that woman.

        ‘Fortunately’, he didn’t have much opportunity, because after she had a child by him, she raped HIM in court like she had me, several years earlier.

        After that, she had to leave town, as she’d developed a ‘reputation’.

        The point here being that men and women respond differently to threat scenarios. Most men, I mean the REAL ones….not these meterosexuals….tend to go counter-aggressive, i.e.,

        Do you REALLY want to roll those ‘dice’?

        Mothers can be more defensive of their children than of other people or other peoples’ children. But men will defend anyone.

        Regards,

        Chuck(le)
        [God IS in control…..]

      • I agree with Matt that it could have been tragic if the mom drew. I also doubt whether I’d be able to restrain myself from drawing in a similar situation. But if this guy really was looking for suicide than maybe he wouldn’t have hurt the toddler after all. No way to know for sure.

  3. Suicide by cop
    there is a lesson to be learned here; don’t take a knife to a gun fight, don’t be the bad guy

    • Still no actual kill shot in that video. I think they should publicize that shit. Loud and proud, pour encourager les autres. (I’m pretty sure I don’t need to translate that.)

  4. In MAIG’s universe the guy who was shot was a victim of gun violence and if the toddler was stabbed it wouldn’t count since its a knife.

      • Hey! Don’t denigrate retarded people. There really are mentally disabled people, and those that I’ve met didn’t have an evil bone in their body.

        I suggest “brain-locked” or so.

        • There’s only one time one should use the term retarded. And that’s when quoting Tropic Thunder. “You never go full retard”(read in Robert Downey Jr.’s black voice)

  5. What gets me mad (but was totally to be expected) is Today’s Show absolute silence regarding their Gun Grabbing opinions….not a peep from anyone.

  6. By the way what is it with all of this stuff happening at Walmart stores? I can think of two additional such events off the top of my head and another event that happened in the parking lot of a Walmart.

    Maybe it is a simple statistical artifact: there are probably more Walmart stores in the U.S. than any other chain so of course more attacks would happen at Walmart stores than any other chain.

      • True that. BUT, there is almost always a BUT, I left my wallet on the counter after buying some 9mm at Wally World last week. Figured it out after I got home. Called them. Yes Sir, it is in the safe in the manager’s office. Recovered with nothing missing. Offered a few bucks for the clerk that turned it in. No can do. Against policy. I will at least write a letter for his personnel file.

    • There are lots of Walmarts, they have LOTS of customers, often from lower-income, poor physical/mental health demographics. It’s not surprising they’d appear to have lots of such incidents, but I’ll bet that on a per-customer/square-footage basis, they don’t have exceptional percentages of these incidents.

  7. Capt. Huff did what he had to do, the only thing he reasonably could do to protect a little girl. One toddler is worth a million Sammie Wallaces.

  8. I only hope the permanent hearing loss for the little girl is not too severe.

    Mental illness cured with a little copper and lead.

  9. Nice work on the part of the police Captain. I’m glad everything ended reasonably well – the little girl wasn’t harmed and zero chance of recidivism.

  10. In that situation there would be no time to think, just react. Just focus on your target and do it. Good job Captain Huff.

    • Kurt, that exact link was posted in a comment above, three hours ago. But thanks for playing.

  11. This is one for the good guys!My hat is off to you Captain!The only bad thing that will come out of this is when the POS ‘s,family files a wrongful death lawsuit against this police officer,it will still cost him and his city,to defend themselves.Be prepared and ready.Keep your powder dry.

  12. Death by Cop. Sorry the little girl was involved! With time she should forget about it, if her mother can let it go.

  13. The only part of any of this I find shocking is that multiple people responded to this by wondering if what the officer who ended it did was legal.

    In this case the hostage taker made determining the ‘defense of another’ criteria painfully easy. One could shear away portions of this and still have a legal defensive shoot. As it is, it’s hard to imagine a better example than someone who possesses the means (a knife, physical control of a victim of disparate size), announced their intent ‘ . . . I’m going to kill. . .’ and, as if imminence were not established by proximity, actually gives a time line (counting down from 60).

    I suspect that this man intended to commit suicide by cop. If so he could hardly have done a better job setting the scene if he’d brought along a check list.

    Deadly threat? Ok I gotta knife, Check!
    Imminence? Well, hmmm, what if I pick up a toddler and physically control her . . .got it, check!
    Just in case I’ll announce my intent to kill verbally to witnesses and set a time constraint by indicated when I’ll kill, recheck both above boxes!

    Frankly (and he is a bit curmudgeonly about liability, especially of the criminal kind) my attorney would have advised shooting this guy, there was that little doubt. Actually on second thought, my attorney might have shot this guy and then used it as an object lesson on when you’ve met the criteria for a ‘good’ shoot (my attorney is a CCW permit holder).
    As for the lead comment regarding the point blank headshot; there is nothing in the law that states that the means of defense cannot be accurate and effective. Once the criteria for lethal force are met a pointblank headshot is not different from whacking at a person with a cardboard paper towel tube. It’s not that I don’t see in the video that this could appear to be an execution, it’s just that under the circumstance, circumstances the BG created and perpetuated, it was the most efficient solution available.
    I think there is much doubt when facing a weapon other than a gun, and more when imminence is uncertain (do I keep firing on the cover that guy who was trying to shoot me when down behind?)
    A knife is forever a deadly weapon under the law. In fact, it’s so well established as a deadly weapon that virtually every state, territory, province and municipality has some sort of rule governing the possession and carry of a knife. However the actual weapon in use doesn’t matter, it’s what a reasonable person would consider capable of lethal or serious harm. Had he threaten to drop the child from a high place it would have warranted a lethal threat reaction. Often we see heroics in which both the intended victim and the BG live because responders did something other than kill the BG to resolve the situation. Often this is not because the criteria for use of lethal force had not been met, but rather because a non lethal alternative was present. In this case the officer did what was required to end the threat to the innocent party’s life. The BG chose the circumstances, the officer responded to them.

  14. I have a daughter almost that same age. I’ve got to say, I was very impressed with the cool-headed response of the cop. Whether it was a suicide-by-cop or not, he totally got inside the goblin’s OODA loop. Got him sitting down to reduce mobility, closed the distance for a very clean shot… Very impressed with that guy.

    I don’t think I would have been as cool and collected as that cop appeared to be.

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