An armed teacher at a Utah school is being praised as “a hero” after he saved an 11-year-old student from a man who tried to kidnap her Tuesday, numerous sources reported.
The teacher at Lincoln Elementary School in Ogden was watching students on the playground from inside the school and saw a man, later identified as Ira Cox-Berry, walk up to the girl and “put his hands on her in an attempt to take her,” Lt. Brian Eynon of the Ogden City Police Department said, according to Fox 8.
A 41-year-old man accused of trying to kidnap an 11-year-old girl from a Utah school is in custody, and a teacher is being hailed as “a hero.”https://t.co/WO5gwLV8VS
— WSPA 7News (@WSPA7) May 27, 2021
Ogden is located approximately 40 miles north of Salt Lake City.
“He ran outside, the employee did, and confronted the suspect. At that same time, the girl had the ability to pull away from the suspect,” Eynon said.
The teacher was able to direct all of the 20 students on the playground into the school building, Fox 8 reported. The suspect then allegedly approached the building and tried to force his way inside the school by punching a window. The teacher, a concealed carry permit holder, brandished his firearm and held the suspect off while calling police.
Eynon said the teacher is protected under the Second Amendment and his actions likely protected the children’s lives.
“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,” Eynon said, according to Fox 8. (RELATED: Virginia Government Officials Not Happy With First School District To Arm Teachers)
“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,” Eynon continued, adding that the teacher was “emotionally prepared” to confront the suspect despite the possibility that he was on drugs or potentially armed.
“He took it upon himself to protect and be a hero, frankly, for the children who were on scene there when this went down,” Eynon said.
Police took Cox-Berry into custody and said he appeared to be “high on some type of narcotic.”
Officials said the suspect and the 11-year-old student had no links to each other, according to Fox 8.
A spokesperson for Ogden School District also praised the teacher as “a hero” for intervening during a threat to student safety.
“This teacher, this school employee, is a hero. We don’t disagree with that at all,” Jer Bates, the spokesperson, said, according to Fox 8.
“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,” Bates continued.
Bates added that the student is coping well after the traumatic experience, and that the school is offering counselors to the students.
Cox-Berry was charged with one count of child kidnapping and booked into the Weber County Jail, according to Fox 8.