A South Carolina police officer rescued a woman who repeatedly mouthed “help me” during a traffic stop as her alleged kidnapper sat beside her.
Officer Kayla Wallace stopped a white Jeep on 28 May after it went through a red light, and approached the woman behind the wheel.
The driver told the officer the man in the passenger seat had abducted her at gunpoint after a shooting.
The suspect, Collins Bates, 29, was arrested.
Ms Wallace, an officer with the North Myrtle Beach Police Department, did not know anything about the shooting before the traffic stop, Officer Pat Wilkinson told the BBC’s US media partner CBS News.
There were only 30 minutes left on her shift when Ms Wallace encountered the vehicle.
After she pulled the car over, police said the driver opened the door and appeared distressed.
“I gave loud orders for her to close the door,” Ms Wallace wrote in a police report. “The passenger also opened his door and stated that the windows don’t roll down.
“The driver then told me that she felt like she was going to throw up.”
The department posted on Facebook: “While the male passenger wasn’t looking at the driver, the female silently mouthed ‘Help Me’ repeatedly.”
Ms Wallace placed Mr Bates in the back of her patrol car.
She went back to speak with the driver, who told her that the man had just shot someone before forcing her to drive him away at gunpoint.
During the traffic stop, a “be on the lookout” alert was dispatched over Ms Wallace’s radio. It said a white Jeep had been involved in a shooting in the county.
The dispatch also described a suspect matching Mr Bates’ description.
County law enforcement were called to the scene and he was arrested.
He faces charges of attempted murder, kidnapping and possession of a weapon during a violent crime in connection with a shooting.
Police said a pistol was found under his seat in the car.
“Our department and our community is lucky to have Officer Wallace,” the department said.