MIDWEST CITY, Okla. – An Oklahoma police officer’s quick thinking and heroic actions were honored Monday by President Barack Obama.
In 2013, Midwest City Major David Huff was forced to make an impossible decision.
Several shoppers at a local Walmart called police after a man grabbed a woman’s child and held a knife to her side.
Store security cameras show 37-year-old Sammie Wallace snatching 2-year-old Zoey from a shopping cart and walking away with her.
“Here’s this huge, huge man standing there with my daughter in his arms and he has a knife pointing toward her side,” Alicia Keating told NewChannel 4 just a week after the incident.
Officers rushed to the scene and immediately cleared the store except for Wallace and Zoey.
They gave him a chair and urged him to release the child, but he only became 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 mean we waited until the last second to use deadly force,” said Clabes. ”No one wants to take a life, especially in the line of duty.”
Fortunately, Zoey was able to be reunited with her mother and sister and did not suffer any injuries.
Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater called Huff’s actions “heroic and justified.”
Almost three years after the incident, President Obama honored Huff with the Medal of Valor, the nation’s highest honor for law enforcement officers.
“To a person, each of these honorees acted without regard to their own safety,” Obama said during the ceremony. “We’re so grateful they were there — some off duty, others on duty, and all rising above and beyond the call of duty.”