A Utah teacher is being hailed a hero after police say he pulled his concealed firearm on a man who tried to kidnap an 11-year-old student.
Ogden police said officers were called to Lincoln Elementary School on Tuesday when Ira Cox-Berry, 41, walked up to an 11-year-old girl playing on the playground and tried to grab her.
Lt. Brian Eynon said a teacher who witnessed the situation from inside ran out and confronted the suspect and the girl was able to break free, ABC4 reported. The teacher was then able to get all 20 students off the playground and into the school, police said.
At that point, Mr. Cox-Berry reportedly approached the school building and was trying to force his way inside when the teacher, a licensed concealed gun carrier who was not named by police, pulled his firearm and held the suspect until police arrived.
“This employee is protected under the Second Amendment. He followed all policy and procedure at the school, and in this particular case, did everything that he should have done to protect the innocent lives of the children at the school,” Lt. Eynon told ABC4. “And in this case, it is likely that a life was saved or injury to a life was prevented due to the actions of this heroic employee.”
Lt. Eynon said the suspect appeared to be “high on some type of narcotic” and did not know the victim.
“This teacher, in particular, was very prepared emotionally to confront a suspect he didn’t know, that was most likely on drugs, could be dangerous, could have been armed, and he took it upon himself to protect and be a hero, frankly, for the children who are on scene there when this went down,” Lt. Eynon said.
“A teacher intervened when there was a situation that threatened students’ safety. This teacher, this school employee, is a hero. We don’t disagree with that at all,” Ogden School District’s Jer Bates told ABC4. “Yes, it was a very scary situation, something we take very seriously, but it came out with a good ending, meaning no students were physically harmed, no adults were physically harmed, that this was an incident where our emergency response protocols were acted out.”
Mr. Cox-Berry is charged with one count of child kidnapping, a first-degree felony, and more charges are pending, police said.