ATLANTA — A mother's trip to Goodwill led to a frightening 60 minutes Monday morning, when an alleged car thief jumped into her car and took off while her son was still in the backseat. Atlanta Police recently released bodycam video revealing how law enforcement managed to rescue the 9-year-old and take the suspect into custody.
The video shows the dramatic moments after a state trooper performs a PIT maneuver to stop the car, which crashed. An Atlanta Police officer jumps out with his gun drawn, runs up to the driver's side window and demands the suspect get out of the car, the video shows.
Other officers can be seen in the video running up to help get the suspect out of the car. They bring him to the ground and place him in handcuffs. Another officer can be seen embracing the shaken 9-year-old, who had crawled to safety from the backseat window, according to police.
Police said the mother parked her car with it running at the Goodwill at 888 Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard around 8:45 a.m. on April 4. When she got out of her car, the man jumped in and took off.
Police Pilot Leroy Champion and Detective Alexandria Ward were within five minutes of getting the call.
"For me, personally, anytime a kid is involved, your tense level gets up a little bit," Champion told 11Alive's Paola Suro. "You do everything you can to try to find that person. You fly, fly, fly, go get fuel, then fly, fly, fly."
Georgia State Patrol, Fulton County Police and the Fulton County Sheriff's Office all responded to the incident, according to Atlanta Police. As Atlanta Police's air unit was not available at the time, Fulton County Police's Air Unit took to the skies.
The suspect ran multiple red lights and multiple stop signs at a high speed while driving north on Peebles Street and west on Lucille Avenue, according to GSP. As Fulton County Police's air unit on the scene, Champion and Ward located the black Honda Accord, leading state troopers to the suspect.
Troopers performed a PIT maneuver around 9:30 a.m., ending the chase. Police said the 38-year-old suspect was taken into custody and the child was immediately reunited with his mother.
The 9-year-old boy was taken to a hospital for medical observation as a precaution. The suspect is now facing charges for kidnapping, cruelty towards children and theft by taking.