‘Help me’: South Carolina woman shops passenger to police with silent message | South Carolina

By mouthing the words “help me” to an officer who had pulled her over for a traffic stop, a woman in South Carolina helped authorities jail a man suspected of a shooting and a kidnapping: her own passenger, according to authorities.

The unusual encounter began when officer Kayla Wallace pulled over a woman behind the wheel of a Jeep that ran a red light during the early evening of 28 May, the North Myrtle Beach police department said in a statement this week. Wallace noticed the woman was in distress while seated alongside 29-year-old Collin Bates, the police’s statement added.

Suddenly, when Bates looked away, the driver silently and repeatedly mouthed the words “help me” to Wallace, according to police. Wallace then took Bates out of the car, put him in the back of her cruiser, and spoke privately with the Jeep’s driver.

The Jeep’s driver frantically explained to Wallace that Bates had just shot another person. Within a moment, a call came over Wallace’s police radio telling officers to keep an eye out for a car that was “just involved in a shooting” in the area, authorities said.

Wallace found a pistol that was illegally concealed underneath Bates’s seat under the Jeep, and the officer arrested him.

Investigators later determined that Bates had shot another person a short time earlier and had forced the Jeep’s driver to take him away from the scene of the attack. Police said they booked Bates on counts of attempted murder and kidnapping.

North Myrtle Beach posted a summary of Bates’s arrest while hailing the driver’s quick thinking and Wallace’s attentive patrolling that day. The police’s statement made it a point to say Wallace was a half-hour away from getting off work, but she remained alert and ended up saving a kidnapping victim who was in the clutches of a suspected shooter.

“Way to go,” said the Facebook post about the arrest. “Our department and our community is lucky to have Officer Wallace.”

North Myrtle Beach has a population of about 20,000, but in the summer there can be up to 150,000 people who are drawn to the city’s location, which is right on the Atlantic coast. Wallace is one of about 90 officers on staff at the city’s police department.

Statistics cited by organizations dedicated to working missing persons cases show most people survive the ordeal of being kidnapped, though the chances can be lower when the victim is an adult.

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