Armed School Employee Thwarts Kidnapping Of Girl, 11, From Playground

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A middle-aged man tried to kidnap an 11-year-old girl from an elementary school playground in broad daylight. Thankfully, the would-be kidnapper was thwarted by an armed school employee, who took matters into his own hands.

Lincoln Elementary School in Ogden (Photo Credit: Ogden School District)

Ira Cox-Berry, an alleged “child snatcher,” met his match when he tried to kidnap an 11-year-old girl from the playground of Lincoln Elementary School in Ogden, Utah, the Daily Mail reported. At approximately 2:30 pm on a Tuesday afternoon, the 41-year-old man approached the girl during recess, quickly garnering the attention of a nearby teacher, who was watching the kids from inside.

When Cox-Berry grabbed the unnamed girl’s arm and tried to pull her away, he was quickly confronted by the teacher, who ran outside and demanded he leave, according to a press release from the Ogden Police. Cox-Berry temporarily unhanded the girl, allowing the teacher time to usher her away. The teacher escorted the child off the playground and into an adjacent classroom, but things were far from over.

Ira Cox-Berry approached the girl on the playground during recess. (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

After confronting the kidnapper and setting the girl free, the teacher instructed the other 19 students who were outside to go inside the school. Sadly, Cox-Berry was undeterred and began yelling and punching a window of the classroom in an apparent attempt to force his way into the building, The Blaze reported. That’s when the unnamed school employee decided to draw his concealed carry pistol.

In hopes of discouraging the would-be kidnapper, the teacher showed Cox-Berry he was in possession of a firearm by pointing the gun at the intruder. Then, while holding the suspect at bay, the teacher called 911. Police were dispatched and arrived at the elementary school and arrested the suspect, later identified as 41-year-old Ira Cox-Berry, after a “brief struggle.”

Ira Cox Berry
The unnamed teacher was able to escort 20 students (the girl and 19 others who were outside) into the school. (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

Although Ira Cox-Berry has no prior felony record, according to state court records, he “appeared to be high on narcotics” at the time of his arrest, Police Lt. Brian Eynon said. The girl’s parents said they didn’t know Cox-Berry, and police also said that there didn’t seem to be any connection between the suspect and the girl.

Ira Cox-Berry was charged with first-degree felony child kidnapping and booked into the Weber County Jail. The school was placed on brief lockdown after the incident. Although the frightening ordeal left some of the children and their parents shaken and emotionally upset, they were safe — thanks to an armed teacher, who was willing to confront a potential kidnapper not once, but twice.

Ira Cox Berry
After the teacher got the children back inside, Ira Cox-Berry began punching the windows, trying to force his way inside, until the teacher pulled a gun on him. (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

“We can confirm nobody was injured and everybody is accounted for,” Jer Bates, a school district spokesperson said. “This is definitely something that is concerning for parents and school employees, and most of all concerning for our students,” Bates added as he explained that a crisis response team was at the school the following day to console any students who were negatively affected by the traumatic event.

It has since been confirmed that the good guy with the gun is a concealed carry permit holder and was in lawful possession of the firearm. “He did everything that he should do to protect our children’s lives here in the city of Ogden,” Lt. Eynon said, praising the armed teacher. “Not once, but twice he confronted the suspect.”

Sadly, even though Lt Eynon told ABC4 that the teacher was a “hero,” whose actions were covered by the law, the teacher “has asked not to be identified over fears for his future career prospects,” according to the Daily Mail. It’s shameful that the teacher now has these concerns, especially when he didn’t do anything wrong. In fact, it was just the opposite. He did everything right, and the police agree.

“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 said. “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,” he added.

Police Lt. Brian Eynon (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

“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 [the] scene there when this went down,” Eynon furthered, and I couldn’t have said it any better.

This man is a hero, and he should be treated as such — not left fearful of his future career prospects because he legally used a gun to protect innocent children from an intruder who was suspected to be high on some type of narcotic and trying to kidnap a little girl. If anything, the teacher’s actions should make him an even more desirable employee for any school. He’s already proven he is willing to do what it takes to keep his students safe. What parent wouldn’t want that for their child?