On their way back from lunch June 29, 2018, Ironwood State Prison Correctional Officer Brian Blue and Sergeant Joseph Waltman assisted in stopping an attempted child abduction. The event unfolded in broad daylight 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,” Waltman said. “We proceeded to follow the guy while the lady also chased him. She was screaming, ‘He is stealing my kid.'”
Another 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. Blue and Waltman immediately made their way toward the man who stopped near a car at the far end of the parking lot. As Waltman and Blue went over, another man said the guy had a violent history,” 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 to get past him into the back seat,” Waltman recalls. “The man pinned her with his arm against the door so she was unable to get the kid.”
According to Bradley, the man was also “squishing” the woman with the car door.
Eventually the man and woman stopped struggling.
“Waltman and Blue identified themselves as peace officers and had the man and the woman separate. They verbally deescalated the situation while keeping the suspect and victims separate until Indio Police arrived,” Bradley said.
“(We were) able to get the child to a court employee to get the child to a safe location,” Waltman said.
The Ironwood employees spoke with police, giving them a rundown of attempted child abduction and their actions to stop it. Then, they were back to work, returning to their duties 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.
By Lt. Kelli Madsen, Ironwood State Prison