Army Vet Saves Children From Knife-Wielding Maniac

Jessie Cohen Contributor
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A 75-year-old former Army veteran is recovering from injuries he sustained while helping to disarm a teen armed with a knife who ran into a Morton, Illinois public library this week, the Pekin Daily Times reports.

The veteran’s name is James Vernon, a retired Caterpillar technology worker. At the time, 16 children and some of their mothers were in the library for a chess club that Vernon was leading.

19-year-old Dustin Brown “actually ran into the room yelling, ‘I’m going to kill some people!'” Vernon told the Daily Times.

He said Brown was armed with two “hunting type” knifes with about five-inch blades.

“I tried to talk to him. I tried to settle him down,” Vernon explained. “I didn’t, but I did deflect his attention and calmed him a bit. … I asked what his problem was. He said his life sucks. That’s a quote.”

The veteran was able to distract Brown with his calm approach and gave the children, ages 7 to 13, some time to hide under furniture, and then escape out the library door. That’s when Brown attacked Vernon.

The vet blocked the initial slash with his left hand. He then pinned the attacker against a table, with one knife under Brown’s body. Vernon then struck Brown, who dropped the other knife. He and a library employee kept Brown pinned until law enforcement officials arrived.

By that time, Vernon was “bleeding pretty good,” he told the Daily Times. Two of his arteries and a tendon in his left hand were both cut.

Brown is being held on $800,000 bail until a Nov. 5 court appearance. According to Fox News, the teen is being charged with attempted murder, armed violence, aggravated battery to a person over the age of 60, and burglary for entering the library with intent to commit a crime. Prior to the incident he was facing prosecution charges for possessing child pornography.

According to a prosector’s court affidavit he’d been planning on killing people and himself for the past two weeks. Brown stated to the police, “I failed my mission to kill everyone.”

Jessie Cohen