Atlanta Police recently released body camera footage showing the dramatic rescue of a 9-year-old boy who was allegedly kidnapped during a carjacking.
The mother and her son were on a trip to a Goodwill store when a man jumped into the car and drove off with the child in the backseat.
According to police, the mother had parked the car at the store and exited the vehicle without turning off the engine.
Multiple agencies immediately responded to the call, including officers from the Atlanta Police Department, Georgia State Patrol and the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office.
Dramatic body camera footage showed a state trooper performing a PIT maneuver, causing the car to crash. An Atlanta Police officer then jumped out of his car with a gun drawn and approached the driver’s side window, demanding the suspect exit the vehicle.
Officers then removed the suspect, 38, from the driver’s seat and brought him to the ground before placing him in handcuffs.
Another officer hugged the boy, who had climbed out of the backseat window during the ordeal.
Police Pilot Leroy Champion and Detective Alexandria Ward with the Fulton County Police were credited with tracking down the vehicle from their air unit.
“For me, personally, anytime a kid is involved, your tense level gets up a little bit,” Champion told 11Alive. “You do everything you can to try to find that person. You fly, fly, fly, go get fuel, then fly, fly, fly.”
Georgia State Police said the vehicle ran multiple red lights and stop signs at a high rate of speed before Champion and Ward located the black Honda and led state troopers to it.
During the flight, Ward — who is training to become a tactical flight officer — realized the camera system they rely on was not working.
“We pretty much had to start looking visually for the car. With the camera system, you’re able to zoom in a lot closer, you can actually read the tags from above. We knew that the vehicle had a paper tag as well,” Ward explained.
Hampered by technical difficulties, the air unit had to rely on communication with other involved agencies.
“There’s a whole lot of communication that goes on when we are in a call like that,” he said.
“He jumped out of his car, ran up to the car with no cover, no nothing. I commend him for that. I said, ‘The kid is OK, the kid is OK’ … about three times,” Champion recalled.
The car chase lasted roughly one hour.
“Seeing that child come out of that vehicle unharmed, shaken up obviously, it makes you emotional,” Detective Ward said.
The boy was transported to the hospital for medical observation as a precaution. The suspect faces charges of kidnapping, cruelty towards children and theft.