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Off-duty deputy honored for saving 4-year-old from attempted kidnapping

Attorney General Ashley Moody is recognizing Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office Deputy Corey Reece for jumping into action.
Credit: The White House

TAMPA, Fla. — He was on vacation in Tampa back in June when, in an instant, everything changed.

Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office Deputy Corey Reece was off duty, on the opposite side of the state from his home. He was in a Hampton Inn hotel room, vacationing, when he heard a commotion in the hallway.

His law enforcement instincts kicked in. And he left his room to figure out what was happening.

In the hall, Reece found a man grabbing a 4-year-old child as the mother tried to fight off the would-be kidnapper. The mom told Deputy Reece she didn't know the guy, and Reece jumped into action, separating the man from the woman and her child.

Deputy Reece held onto the man until Tampa police officers arrived. And, he kept the peace as witnesses began confronting the alleged kidnapper.

"We are very proud of our deputy’s quick actions and attention to what could have been a very volatile situation," Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw wrote in a statement.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody announced Thursday that she's recognizing Deputy Reece with a Back the Blue Award for his quick intervention.

“The fact that Deputy Reece was off duty and on vacation during this horrific incident speaks volumes to the dedication law enforcement officers have to protect and serve, not only their own communities, but anyone in need," AG Moody wrote in a statement. "Thank you, Deputy Reece, for your quick action and response in saving this child from a potentially life-threatening situation. You are a hero.”

Reece has worked for the sheriff's office since October 2017.

To nominate someone for a Back the Blue Award, click here.

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