Police rescue Alabama woman held at knifepoint by kidnapper

Dramatic body camera footage has revealed the moment police in Alabama rescued a woman who had been kidnapped at knife-point, smashed in the face with a tire iron and kept inside a cage in her captor’s van.

The suspect, Sean E. Sanders, 51, was arrested just moments after the victim was freed from the 1997 Ford Aerostar Cargo van in Brookside on Sunday following a dramatic standoff with police. 

Authorities were alerted to the brutal kidnapping after a witness saw the woman bleeding from the head and screaming, ‘help he’s going to kill me’, as she was being forced into Sanders’ van.   

Police say the van had its doors chained from the inside and multiple cages in the back. The windows were covered with blankets to block people from seeing inside.  

Dramatic body camera footage captured the moment police in Brookside, Alabama were able to free a woman from a van after she was kidnapped and held at knifepoint by her captor on Sunday

Dramatic body camera footage captured the moment police in Brookside, Alabama were able to free a woman from a van after she was kidnapped and held at knifepoint by her captor on Sunday

 Dramatic body camera footage captured the moment police in Brookside, Alabama were able to free a woman from a van after she was kidnapped and held at knifepoint by her captor on Sunday

The officers were filmed struggling as they dragged Sanders from the vehicle and placed him in handcuffs

The officers were filmed struggling as they dragged Sanders from the vehicle and placed him in handcuffs

The officers were filmed struggling as they dragged Sanders from the vehicle and placed him in handcuffs

The suspect, Sean E. Sanders, 51, (above) was arrested just moments after the victim was freed from the 1997 Ford Aerostar Cargo van in Brookside on Sunday following a dramatic standoff with police

The suspect, Sean E. Sanders, 51, (above) was arrested just moments after the victim was freed from the 1997 Ford Aerostar Cargo van in Brookside on Sunday following a dramatic standoff with police

The suspect, Sean E. Sanders, 51, (above) was arrested just moments after the victim was freed from the 1997 Ford Aerostar Cargo van in Brookside on Sunday following a dramatic standoff with police 

The witness who first spotted the kidnapping drove after Sanders’ van as he frantically called 911 to provide police with details. 

Responding officers with the Brookside Police Department later saw the van passing a church and tried to stop it but Sanders allegedly rammed into a witness and fled. 

Police said they managed to block Sanders’ van on a nearby road. 

Sanders is accused of trying to run over an officer before authorities fired shots into the van that disabled the vehicle.  

Police said Sanders then crawled into the back of the van with the victim. 

Officers tried to negotiate with him for 35 minutes as he allegedly held the victim at knife-point in the back of the van. 

Sanders, who police say has a history of being arrested for assault and kidnapping, demanded that the officers kill him.

Fearing immediate danger to the victim, officers said they made the decision to force their way into the back of the van.  

Authorities were alerted to the brutal kidnapping after a witness saw the woman bleeding from the head and screaming, 'help he's going to kill me', as she was being forced into Sanders' van

Authorities were alerted to the brutal kidnapping after a witness saw the woman bleeding from the head and screaming, 'help he's going to kill me', as she was being forced into Sanders' van

Authorities were alerted to the brutal kidnapping after a witness saw the woman bleeding from the head and screaming, ‘help he’s going to kill me’, as she was being forced into Sanders’ van 

Police say the van had chained doors and multiple cages in the back. The windows were covered with blankets to block people from seeing inside

Police say the van had chained doors and multiple cages in the back. The windows were covered with blankets to block people from seeing inside

Police say the van had chained doors and multiple cages in the back. The windows were covered with blankets to block people from seeing inside 

Dramatic footage showed the officers using a taser to subdue Sanders before they were able to pull the terrified victim from the van.  

The officers were filmed struggling as they dragged Sanders from the vehicle and placed him in handcuffs.   

Sanders, who is originally from Los Angeles, was charged with kidnapping, attempted murder of a police officer, resisting arrest, reckless endangerment and criminal mischief

Sanders, who is originally from Los Angeles, was charged with kidnapping, attempted murder of a police officer, resisting arrest, reckless endangerment and criminal mischief

Sanders, who is originally from Los Angeles, was charged with kidnapping, attempted murder of a police officer, resisting arrest, reckless endangerment and criminal mischief 

The victim told police that Sanders had planned to drag her into the woods and kill her.

Police believe the two may have known each other from possibly living on the streets. 

The victim was seriously injured in the ordeal and was hospitalized. She remains in a stable condition after suffering cuts to the head and face. 

Two officers were also left with minor injuries sustained during the arrest and were treated on the scene.    

Sanders, who is originally from Los Angeles, was charged with kidnapping, attempted murder of a police officer, resisting arrest, reckless endangerment and criminal mischief. 

He allegedly admitted to kidnapping the victim against her will, assaulting her and trying to run over a police officer.

He is being held in Jefferson County jail on a $191,000 bond. 

During his arrest, police also seized his three dogs that were inside the van. They have since been taken in by animal control officers and are safe and healthy. 

Fearing immediate danger to the victim, officers said they made the decision to force their way into the back of the van. Dramatic footage showed the officers using a taser to subdue Sanders before they were able to pull the terrified victim from the van

Fearing immediate danger to the victim, officers said they made the decision to force their way into the back of the van. Dramatic footage showed the officers using a taser to subdue Sanders before they were able to pull the terrified victim from the van

Fearing immediate danger to the victim, officers said they made the decision to force their way into the back of the van. Dramatic footage showed the officers using a taser to subdue Sanders before they were able to pull the terrified victim from the van

The officers were filmed struggling as they dragged Sanders from the vehicle and placed him in handcuffs

The officers were filmed struggling as they dragged Sanders from the vehicle and placed him in handcuffs

The officers were filmed struggling as they dragged Sanders from the vehicle and placed him in handcuffs 

He allegedly admitted to kidnapping the victim against her will, assaulting her and trying to run over a police officer

He allegedly admitted to kidnapping the victim against her will, assaulting her and trying to run over a police officer

He allegedly admitted to kidnapping the victim against her will, assaulting her and trying to run over a police officer 

Sanders appears to have no previous criminal history in Alabama, other than two traffic violations. 

‘He’s a homeless transient who has been living out of his van in Alabama for at least the last three months,’ Brookside Police chief Mike Jones told ABC News.  

He was living in his van in a Starbucks car park and frequent customers had rallied round him in recent weeks by bringing his dogs food and trying to help him. 

One of the women who helped him said she was shocked when she heard of Sunday’s incident. 

‘He was a very, very smart nice guy. I’m always on the paranoid side and I never felt uncomfortable around him,’ she told AL.

‘He was very lonely. It was hard to leave him because he kept wanting to talk.’ 

According to those who helped him, Sanders said he moved to Alabama from California to avoid the gangs there and to see his brother. 

The woman said he attended a Fultondale church and was part of a Bible study group in Homewood. 

She even attended his recent baptism and paid for a hotel room for him to use to shower the night before. 

Another woman helped him get an apartment, that is federally subsidized, in Ensley that would accept his three dogs.  

Sanders, who police say has a history of being arrested for assault and kidnapping, demanded that the officers kill him

Sanders, who police say has a history of being arrested for assault and kidnapping, demanded that the officers kill him

Sanders, who police say has a history of being arrested for assault and kidnapping, demanded that the officers kill him 

Police say Sanders had been living in his van in a Starbucks car park and frequent customers had rallied round him in recent weeks by bringing his dogs food and trying to help him

Police say Sanders had been living in his van in a Starbucks car park and frequent customers had rallied round him in recent weeks by bringing his dogs food and trying to help him

Police say Sanders had been living in his van in a Starbucks car park and frequent customers had rallied round him in recent weeks by bringing his dogs food and trying to help him 

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