TODAY   |  July 03, 2013

Mom of tot hostage: I was begging for her life

Alicia Keating recalls the terrifying ordeal she endured in an Oklahoma Walmart last week when a stranger snatched her 2-year-old daughter Zoey out of her cart and held her at knifepoint. NBC’s Kevin Tibbles reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> with new details on a terrifying hostage details caught on tape. the mother of a two-year-old girl held at knife point is sharing her story.

>> i was literally begging for my daughter's life.

>> she still can't comprehend what transpired during a simple trip to the local walmart with her daughters. zoe , 2 years old and ashley 12.

>> here's this huge man standing there with my daughter in his arms and has a knife pointing toward her side.

>> store security sam rangers show 37-year-old wallace snatching her out of the cart and walking away with her.

>> my first reaction was this can't be real. zuz he really have my baby? who is this?

>> but it was real and so was the knife. wallace , a complete stranger seemed unstable making demands she didn't understand and she was terrified.

>> he said quitely hey little momma, you see this knife?

>> reporter: as the drama unfolded, witnesses called 911.

>> he just took this woman's kid and we need police here immediately.

>> there's someone with a knife holding a little girl hostage.

>> i did not maintain my composure. i was completely freaked out. i wanted to reach out and grab her but he had a knife. there was nothing i could do but stand there and beg for her life.

>> reporter: when police arrived, they cleared the store and tried to calm wallace down getting him a chair, urging him to release the child. wallace became even more agitat agitated. after more than 30 minutes of tense negotiating, a menacing threat. he started counting down from 60 after which he said he was going to harm the child. police captain david huff had a split second. he got up, walked toward wallace , aimed and fired.

>> when you have a suspect that's counting down on a child's life we're going to have to take appropriate action and unfortunately we had to use deadly force .

>> i heard the shot go off and i thought oh my god, they just killed her. i thought, she's dead.

>> all of captain huff's training put to the test. wallace was dead and little zoe reunited with her mother.

>> it was scary. it was like out of a movie.

>> reporter: now at home it's the simple things that matter most.

>> my hugs are a lot tighter. when i watch her play i have never been more thankful.

>> as for wallace , she feels sorry for whatever lead him to do this. and some day she says she'll likely tell zoe what happened in the walmart that day but not any time soon. for today, nbc news, chicago.

>> almost too much to believe.

>> that's awful. horrible story. and you feel bad for the other sister watching all of that.

>> who had to watch it happen.

>> can you imagine 30 minutes as the mother of a child.

>> and the count down.

>> how many moms put the kid right there in the basket.

>> turn to go grab something.

>> but happy ending for the family. we're glad about that.