The police officer involved in the rescue was described as having “nerves of steel.”
The stranger seized the child when the mother turned her back. The man, identified as Sammy Wallace, also held a knife to the toddler’s throat.
Wallace, who has a history of mental illness, held the girl hostage for 34 minutes at knife-point.
Another shopper placed a shopping cart to barricade him.
Police tried to calm him down, but to no avail. Officers tried speaking to him about his job or his family, but it didn’t work.
Later, he was given a chair and he sat down. But afterwards, during the negotiations, he started counting down from 60.
According to the video, police knew they had to react.
And then, “His eyes got really wide [and] he moved a knife … up to her throat,” an official said in the ABC video.
A police officer then spoke to him as a way of distraction, while another officer shot him, rescuing the child.