ST. GEORGE — A February 2022 hostage situation started in Southern Utah and crossed into Arizona when a man wanted for an incident involving a firearm took an infant from his mother at gunpoint and used him as a hostage while fleeing from police.
That man ditched the car he used to escape police and ran with the baby into the desert and pointed a gun to the baby’s head as he told officers to back off.
It was at this time a SWAT marksman made a shot that fatally wounded the kidnapper and secured the rescue of the toddler who escaped the ordeal uninjured.
That SWAT marksman was St. George Police Office Seth LeFevre. He was honored by the Utah Chiefs of Police Association with its Officer of the Year Award during the association’s conference last month.
LeFevre gained further recognition for his actions from the St. George City Council last Thursday as Mayor Michele Randall retold the events. It resulted in a standing ovation for the police officer.
“Seth did an amazing job,” Randall said while retelling the events of Feb. 17, 2022. As Randall spoke, LeFevre sat below the council and carried on with the duty of providing security as he watched the crowd that had gathered in the council chambers prior to the meeting. All the while he wore a calm and watchful look while chewing gum.
Randall said she had watched the body camera footage from the incident, and even though she knew the outcome, it was nonetheless intense to witness.
Once in place, LeFevre “took a very difficult, precision shot with his rifle.” Randall said. “The shot was delivered inches from the baby’s head and timed perfectly. Officer LeFevre’s actions fatally wounded the suspect and saved the child’s life.”
The incident gained national and international attention and will also be the focus of a future episode of the reality series “Body Cam.”
Following the recognition, St. George Police Chief Kyle Whitehead spoke with St. George News about the incident and LeFevre’s part in its resolution.
“It’s a very unfortunate situation to be placed into but we’re glad he was there and able to act,” Whitehead said. “He acted with heroism and is very deserving of this award … We’re extremely proud of Seth. He’s a great officer and a great asset to our department.”
While he appreciates the recognition, LeFevre said the operation to save the kidnapped child involved several officers. It was because of their collective efforts that he was able to do what he did.
“When all is said and done, that incident was an all-out team effort,” he said. “If not for the several officers doing their specific assignments, I wouldn’t have been in a position to take the shot.”
LeFevre also credited the training he and his fellow officer received as it helped them focus and get the job done during a highly stressful situation.
“I’m glad it culminated in an event that I was able to use those skills to help save someone,” he said. “It was a unique experience.”
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