By Lt. Kelli Madsen, AA/PIO
Ironwood State Prison
On their way back from lunch June 29, Ironwood State Prison Correctional Officer Brian Blue and Sgt. Joseph Waltman assisted in stopping the attempted abduction of a child in a courthouse parking lot.
“While returning from lunch, Officer Blue and I observed a man run up and take a kid from a lady’s arms,” Sgt. Waltman said. “We proceeded to follow the guy as the lady also chased him. She was screaming, ‘He is stealing my kid.'”
Another correctional officer was also at the scene and saw what happened.
“The woman screams and yells to call the cops and starts chasing the guy. The child is screaming. Officer Blue and Sgt. Waltman immediately made their way towards the man who stopped near a car at the far end of the parking lot. A man mentioned to Waltman and Blue that the guy had a violent history as they were going over,” said Officer J. Bradley. The child was approximately 3 years old.
After a foot pursuit, the pair reached the suspect’s vehicle.
“I went to the back of the car while Officer Blue was at the front of the guy’s car. I noticed the guy had the kid in the back seat, holding him down by his chest and neck area (while) the mom was trying o get past him into the back seat,” Sgt. Waltman recalls. “The man pinned her with his arm against the door so she was unable to get the kid.”
According to Officer Bradley, the man was also “squishing” the woman with the car door.
“Sgt. Waltman and Officer Blue identified themselves as peace officers and had the man and the woman separate. Blue and Waltman verbally deescalated the situation while keeping the suspect and victims separate until Indio PD arrived on the scene,” Officer Bradley said.
“(We were) able to get the child to a court employee (and) to get the child to a safe location,” Sgt. Waltman said.
The officer and sergeant spoke with responding police to give them a rundown of the event, and then they had to be back in court.
“They acted quickly and professionally. Had they not been there, the attacker may have gotten away with a child abduction that day. Their actions should not go unnoticed,” said Officer Bradley.