Midwest City police release video of standoff with knife-wielding suspect

A video released by Midwest City police shows a suspect picking a 2-year-old child up from her mother's shopping cart while the mother's back was turned and holding a knife to the toddler's throat. Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater called Capt. David Huff's actions heroic.
BY BRYAN DEAN bdean@opubco.com Modified: June 28, 2013 at 9:06 pm •  Published: June 28, 2013

— Police Friday released 911 tapes and video surveillance showing a tense standoff that ended when an officer killed a suspect holding a knife to the throat of a 2-year-old girl in a Walmart Market by shooting him in the head at point-blank range.

Chief Brandon Clabes on Friday hailed Capt. David Huff, a trained hostage negotiator who fired the shot, as a hero who likely saved the girl's life.

The video shows Sammie L. Wallace, 37, as he approached the store, grabbed a cart and circled it several times before picking the girl up out of a shopping cart and confronting her mother.

Huff and another police negotiator tried for about 30 minutes to talk Wallace into releasing the girl before the confrontation ended fatally. The girl was not harmed.

“They did everything possible,” Clabes said. “They thought they could talk him down.”

Clabes said Huff is on vacation and has declined to talk about the ordeal publicly. He has been cleared of any wrongdoing both by the Midwest City Police Department and Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater, who called his actions “heroic.”

Wallace entered the store at 7520 E Reno Ave. shortly after 3 p.m. June 17. On the video, he can be seen circling the store and passing Alicia Keating and her two daughters twice. Keating's 12-year-old daughter was standing with the cart while the 2-year-old girl sat in it.

Keating was next to the cart but was turned and looking at meat in the store's cooler when Wallace picked the toddler up out of the cart. He then handed his cellphone to Keating while holding a knife to the girl's throat and demanded she call a Dallas police officer Wallace once was acquainted with.

Keating declined Friday to talk about the incident.

The video does not include audio, but in 911 calls made during the confrontation, Keating can be heard in the background pleading with Wallace to release her daughter.

Terry Parker, a Midwest City pastor who was shopping at the store, positioned his shopping cart in a way that blocked Wallace from moving from the area.

Clabes credited Parker for his quick thinking, which put officers in a good position to deal with Wallace when they arrived.

Parker said Friday the events unfolded so quickly that he acted on instinct to restrict Wallace's movement.


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