Ala. Boy, 9, Praised After Rescuing 6-Year-Old Sister from Carjacking: ‘He Did a Fantastic Job’

Rachel DeSantis
·3 min read

Mallie Riggs Ethan and Audrey Walker

A young Alabama boy is being celebrated for his immense bravery after he stepped up to save both himself and his sister from a carjacking.

Ethan Walker, 9, was with his mom Kristin Walker and 6-year-old sister Audrey on Jan. 7 when the trio stopped to get gas near U.S. Highway 411 and I-20, according to the Moody Police Department.

The siblings stayed in the backseat as Walker filled up the tank — but things took a terrifying turn when a teenage suspect approached with a gun, according to authorities.

The suspect jumped into the car's driver's seat, police said, and flashed his weapon as Walker, who is pregnant with her third child, desperately attempted to stop him.

"When the man jumped in the front seat, I lunged in on top of him and removed the keys. That's when he pulled the gun on me," she tells PEOPLE.

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Despite the chaos and commotion, Ethan remained calm, and managed to quickly exit the vehicle and help get his sister to safety, too.

"As this was happening, her 9-year-old son, in what can only be described as an incredible act of bravery and composure, exited the rear driver's side of the vehicle and ran around to the passenger side rear," police said.

Ethan recounted the ordeal to ABC affiliate WBMA, and said that he noticed the suspect was trying to steal the car once his mom jumped in.

"I jumped out and went around and got Audrey out," he said.

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Once the children were both safely out of the car, the suspect drove away with their vehicle, and they were able to call police from inside the store of the gas station.

"I'm so proud of him for protecting our family," Walker says. "God's hand was on us. We are not victims. They may have taken our car, but we didn't allow them to take anything else from us and we won't. Our story is one of hope and positivity in a dark world."

Police said that Ethan's bravery will be recognized by Chief Thomas Hunt at a later date, something Walker says her son is "pretty excited" about.

"I think that's going to help our family work through this," she told AL.com.

Dad Brian Walker also praised his young son's quick thinking.

"That calmness, at least a little bit, to be able to get over there and unbuckle the carseat without fumbling or freaking out to where he couldn't get it done – he kept his composure and did a fantastic job," he told WBMA.

Police said that the two suspects, an 18-year-old and a 23-year-old both from Jackson, Mississippi, were located using the FLOCK camera system and other vehicle tag readers as they fled back into Mississippi from Alabama in the stolen car.

They were taken into custody by the Rankin County Sheriff's Office "after a brief vehicle pursuit," and both face multiple felony charges, including armed robbery and vehicle theft.