MIDWEST CITY, Okla. – It’s something every mother does, takes her children to the grocery store.
But late last week, what happened to Midwest City mom Alicia Keating and her daughter, Zoey, is every mother’s worst nightmare.
Keating said she still can’t comprehend what happened during a simple trip to the Midwest City Walmart with her daughters, 2-year-old Zoey and 12-year-old Ashley.
Store security cameras show 37-year-old Sammie Wallace snatching Zoey from the shopping cart and walking away with her.
“My first reaction was, this can’t be real,” she said. “Does he really have my baby? Who is this?”
The mother said Wallace, a complete stranger, seemed unstable.
He was making demands she didn’t understand which she said terrified her.
“He said really quietly, ‘Hey little mama, you see this knife,'” Keating said.
Witnesses called 911 as the drama unfolded.
911 caller 1: “He took this woman’s kid and we need police here immediately.”
911 caller 2: “There’s someone with a knife holding a little girl hostage.”
“I did not maintain my composure,” Keating said. “I was completely freaked out. 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.”
When police arrived, they cleared the store and tried to calm Wallace.
They gave him a chair and urged him to release the child.
He became even more agitated.
After more than 30 minutes of negotiating, Wallace held the knife to the child’s throat and started a 60-second countdown until he said he would hurt the little girl.
Midwest City Police Capt. David Huff had only a split second to make a decision.
He got up, walked toward Wallace and fired one shot, killing Wallace.
“I heard a shot go off and I thought, ‘Oh my God, they just killed her,'” Keating said. “I thought, she’s dead.”
Wallace was no longer a threat and little Zoey was reunited with her mother.
“It was scary,” Keating said. “It was like out of a movie.”
Now back at home, the mother said the simple things mean the most.
“My hugs are a lot tighter,” she said. “When I watch her play, I have never been more thankful.”
As for Sammie Wallace, Keating said she feels sorry about whatever led him to do this.
She said she will tell Zoey about what happened in Walmart that day but not anytime soon.