Editor’s Note: Our readers responded strongly to this story when it originally ran; we’re reposting it here in case you missed it.
Holding a baby in one hand and a firearm in the other, a kidnapper presented police with an impossible situation. Officers could advance and risk the infant being injured or killed in the crossfire, or let the kidnapper continue to hold the child hostage.
In other words, the man was virtually untouchable.
But the incident didn’t end in a bloodbath or an hours-long standoff. Thanks to recently released bodycam footage, we now know that the timely intervention of a police sniper brought things to an abrupt end for the kidnapper.
The Feb. 17 confrontation began in St. George, Utah, as police from both St. George and the nearby city of Washington worked to capture 30-year-old Oscar Alcantara, who was accused of brandishing a gun days earlier.
According to KSL-TV, police followed Alcantara as he left a house in an SUV. When officers attempted to pull the vehicle over, things took a dangerous turn.
A woman jumped from the driver’s seat and informed police that Alcantara was armed with her infant inside the car.
In those few moments, Alcantara moved behind the wheel and sped away. Police chased him across the state border, eventually stopping near the town of Beaver Dam, Arizona.
Alcantara fled into the desert with the infant, pointing the gun at the child and threatening to shoot.
Body camera footage from the St. George Police Department, released June 10 through a KUTV-TV public records request, shows the kidnapper’s strategy failed soon after a sniper arrived on the scene.
A soft click is all that would have been heard as he toggled the safety on his rifle off.
Alcantara, hiding in the brush with the young hostage, made a clean shot nearly impossible. The sniper tried in vain to acquire a clear sight on the target.
Video shows him trying different positions before apparently deciding to move with the group to engage the kidnapper directly.
ICYMI: I obtained the body camera video from a hostage situation in southern Utah where a man was holding a gun to a baby’s head. This was the second time in 7 years that the Oscar Alcantara was involved in a hostage standoff. https://t.co/gtPBIEglTE @KUTV2News @sgcitypoliceut pic.twitter.com/ifbwGqitTf
— Jeremy Harris (@JeremyHarrisTV) June 10, 2022
Things ended quickly with Alcantara shot by the sniper and the danger eliminated. Officers rushed to secure the infant and control the suspect.
The baby was uninjured, while Alcantara was dead at the scene.
It’s clear things could have ended much worse.
In a situation as delicate as this, everyone (except the bad guy) benefits from police having a wide array of tools and training at their disposal.
While the proper gear and the ability to use it are essential to any good officer, the courage to confront evil despite the danger is paramount.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.