Police in Brookside, Alabama say there was a close call for a woman on Sunday. A man kidnapped her, hit her in the head with a tire iron, and intended on dragging her into the woods to kill her, officers said. A good Samaritan is credited with calling it in, and following the suspect’s vehicle to give officials the van description, tag number, and travel direction, authorities said.
The suspect was identified as California man Sean E. Sanders. Police said he forced the woman into a white van at knife-point.
She was seen screaming “help, he’s gonna kill me!” while bleeding from the head, officers said.
Sanders fled in the vehicle, while a good Samaritan followed, and kept tabs on the van for police, officers said.
Cops said Sanders rammed a witness vehicle at one point in the incident. He later allegedly rammed a police unit. In the end, an officer shot into the vehicle, disabling it, police said. They barracaded the vehicle, but the suspect crawled into the back of the van with the woman, and held her at knifepoint.
A 35-minute standoff ensued. Police said they tried to negotiate while Sanders demanded that they kill him.
The hostage situation ended with the woman being rescued, cops said:
Fearing immediate danger to the victim Brookside tactical officers breeched the rear of the suspect vehicle, tased the suspect and made entry into the front of the vehicle to engage the suspect, while JCSO Deputies assisted with the rescue of the victim. The suspect was taken into custody while still inside the van.
Police credit Jay Bostic as the witness who called in the kidnapping.
“She asked for help,” he told WBRC. “I didn’t have all the facts, but I knew I wasn’t going to let him leave without the police checking it out.”
He credited God with putting him there.
“He can use anyone,” Bostic said. “It just so happened to be my two buddies and myself, but He can use anyone. He can use a rock.”
He also cited the case of Aniah Blanchard, a missing college student who was found dead after an alleged kidnapping.
The alleged victim in the van case “didn’t want to be there,” said Bostic. “And if someone would’ve did that for Aniah Blanchard, maybe she would be here.”
Police said the alleged victim in the Sanders case sustained “serious physical injury.” She was taken to a hospital in stable condition, they said. Two officers also sustained minor injuries, but were treated at the scene, they said.
Officers claim the van had a cage in the back, wire cages over windows, and blankets draped in order to keep people from looking inside. Doors were chained from the inside, police said. Investigators said that when the witness called 911, Sanders had been in the middle of dragging the woman into the woods to kill her.
“These law enforcement officers are true heroes,” Brookside Police Chief Mike Jones said in a statement. “They risked their own safety to save a life today with outstanding restraint, bravery, and professionalism. I pray for these officers everyday and for their safety. I also commend the initial witness who reported the kidnapping. Without his vigilance and proactive response we could be investigating a homicide.”
[Screengrab via Brookside Police Department; h/t Washington Post]