LEOs honor Ala. boy, 9, who rescued sister from carjacking

“You’re a hero to all of us"


By Carol Robinson
al.com

MOODY, Ala. — An Alabama boy who pulled his sister to safety during an armed carjacking was praised as a hero Monday by police, the ATF and the FBI.

“It’s exciting,’' said 9-year-old Ethan Walker. “I’m glad I was able to get her out.”

Ethan Walker, 9, was honored by lawmen Monday, Jan. 25, 2021 after pulling his sister to safety during an armed carjacking earlier this month.
Ethan Walker, 9, was honored by lawmen Monday, Jan. 25, 2021 after pulling his sister to safety during an armed carjacking earlier this month. (Carol Robinson/AL.com)

The ordeal happened Jan. 7 when, about 1:30 p.m., Kristin Walker was putting gas into her vehicle in the area of U.S. 411 and Interstate 20. Her two small children – Ethan and 6-year-old daughter Audrey – were in the back seat. At that point, a man got out of a Chevrolet SUV which had been parked at a pump near the victim and jumped into the driver’s seat of the woman’s vehicle.

Walker could only think of her two babies inside the vehicle. “I actually jumped in on top of him and pulled the keys out of the ignition,’' Walker told AL.com in an earlier interview. “I couldn’t let him leave with them in the car and the only way I could think to stop him was to pull out the keys.”

When she did that, the suspect brandished a weapon and pointed it at Walker, who is pregnant with her third child. She explained to him that her kids were in the car and that is when he told her, “Get them out.”

At that moment, Ethan, in what police said “can only be described as an incredible act of bravery and composure” got out of the vehicle and ran around to the rear passenger’s side to get Audrey to safety.

Walker said it all happened so fast. She said she didn’t have time to think or feel but instead acted on instinct. “I’m just so thankful,” she said of her son’s response to the situation.

They ran into the store and called 911. “Ethan was so calm, cool and collected through the whole thing,’' Walker said. “He was just so smart. He even gave them a description. He knew more than I did.”

Officers fanned out in search of the suspects, who were identified as 18-year-old Kendarian Toran and 23-year-old Eric White, both of Jackson, Miss. Flock camera technology and other tag readers led lawmen to the location of the suspects as they fled back into Mississippi. After a brief pursuit, they wrecked Walker’s vehicle, and both taken into custody the Rankin County Sheriff’s Office. The gun was also recovered.

Ethan, Audrey and Kristin met with lawmen Monday at the Moody Civic Center, where Ethan was presented with multiple awards, including the Moody Police Department’s Citizens Award for Valor. The boy’s selflessness and presence of mind ensured his sister’s well-being and resulted in a quick identification and arrest of those involved, said Moody police Chief Thomas Hunt.

“You’re a hero to all of us and if the day ever comes that you want to be in law enforcement, you have a job here at Moody Police Department,” Hunt said.

ATF Special Agent in Charge Mickey French and Assistant Special Agent in Charge Ash Lightner also presented Ethan with a Medal of Valor. “Community is always special. Community is strong here, family is strong here, and we can see that bond with the community with the family and how this took place,’' Lightner said.

He lauded Ethan and his mother for their quick thinking that day. “We’re just blessed that they were able to get out safe,’' he said. “We’re so thankful for the actions Ethan took. Young man, that was a very good job you did. I’m very proud of you.”

“What a great job under pressure like that when you’re simply trying to put gas in your car and all of the sudden things change,’ said Frank Langdon, acting supervisor with the FBI’s Gadsden office. “Ethan’s mother heroically was able to stop the car from driving off and buy time under the threat of a gun for her family to take action and for Ethan to take his heroic actions to get his little sister Audrey out of there,’' Langdon said. “It’s amazing. My hat is off to him. My whole office can’t say enough how much we appreciate your actions because it really could have been a whole lot worse.”

Kristin was visibly emotional at the presentation and said the family has had its emotional ups and downs since the incident. “I’m speechless,’' she said of the presentation. “I think it makes it a little easier to deal with and we’re glad that a positive spin has been put on what happened and we’re able to look at it in a positive way. We don’t see ourselves as victims. We see ourselves as heroes and that’s definitely helping us to get through it.”

(c)2021 Alabama Media Group, Birmingham

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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