“I'll do what I have to do. I will hurt this baby,” the man holding a 2-year-old girl at knife point told Midwest City police Monday afternoon inside a grocery store.
An agitated Sammie L. Wallace then began counting down from 60 by tens and moved the folding knife from the girl's abdomen to her neck.
That's when police Capt. David Huff acted, advancing on the man. The veteran officer shot the man once in the head and then rescued the girl from the man's arms.
“Huff's actions in this incident were not only justified and necessary, they were heroic,” Oklahoma County District David Prater wrote in a letter Friday that cleared the police captain.
The letter reveals in more detail the moments that led to the shooting.
Huff negotiated with Wallace for approximately 34 minutes inside Walmart Market after the girl was taken hostage, Prater wrote.
Wallace held the girl close to the right side of his body and had the knife in his left hand, the prosecutor wrote. His demeanor changed as he began the countdown.
“It is clear that Captain David Huff made every attempt to resolve the incident with Sammie Wallace peacefully. Huff delayed his use of deadly force until Wallace gave him no other option,” Prater wrote Midwest City Police Chief Brandon Clabes.
Prater cleared the police captain after reviewing investigative reports, photographs, witness statements and other documents. The police chief authorized the release of the letter to The Oklahoman.
Wallace, 37, was from Dallas and had moved to Oklahoma last year. He lived for a time in an Oklahoma City homeless shelter. He had an arrest record in Texas for violent crimes.
Wallace did not know the girl, who was with her mother at the store, police reported earlier. He picked her out of a shopping cart.
The district attorney told The Oklahoman on Friday that Midwest City police officers saved the child's life. He said Wallace obviously was mentally ill.
Police reported finding a notebook and three-ring binder with religious writings in Wallace's Midwest City apartment after the shooting. Police reported Wallace spoke, while holding the girl hostage, about “Illuminati.”
A Midwest City police detective described the “Illuminati” as a satanic cult. Historically, it was the name of a secret society in the 1700s. It also is the name given to a group in a novel by popular author Dan Brown.
The police chief, Clabes, said Friday he expects Huff will return to duty next week.