NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Nearly two weeks before a mass shooting at a Texas elementary school, staff members at a Tennessee school subdued an intruder who tried to force his way onto campus.
During a kindergarten recess at Inglewood Elementary School on May 11, staff members said a man jumped a playground fence, WTVF reported.
The man, later identified as Onreka Gray, was confronted by kindergarten teacher Rachel Davis but forced his way past her, according to the television station.
“I was trying to explain to him, ‘Sir, you cannot come in this door. This is not the front door. You’re not allowed in this building.’ And eventually, he wanted to get in so bad that he was lunging towards the kids,” Davis told WSMV-TV. “We struggled for a while, and he made it inside the building.”
Shay Patton, a bookkeeper at the school, and security officer Katrina Thomas rushed to help Davis subdue the man.
“I got a call from one of the teachers that were out on the playground, saying that a guy was on the playground that did not belong,” Patton told WTVF.
“I just heard Mrs. Davis say ‘he’s trying to get into the building, he’s trying to get into the building,’” Thomas told the television station. “So, immediately, I’m like, ‘You’re not getting into this building,’ like to the top of my lungs yelling, ‘You are not getting into this building.’
“I got him in a headlock, put his arm behind his back, and put my legs across him so he wouldn’t get free,” Thomas told WSMV.
The three women restrained the intruder. Davis broke her elbow during the scuffle, according to the television station.
“But he was just wild,” Thomas told WTVF. “You know, he was just over the top, fighting, scuffling, trying to get away.”
Patton said the situation could have been worse, which was borne out by the tragedy in southern Texas on Tuesday.
“We didn’t even think about weapons. He could have had anything. I didn’t even think about that until hours later,” Patton told WSMV. “I was like, ‘Not only did we protect them, but we could have endangered our own lives.’ We did endanger our own lives.
“I don’t know what he was trying to do, but I’m grateful that he barely got into the door, and that was it.”
Gray is facing charges including assault, resisting arrest and aggravated criminal trespassing, WKRN-TV reported.
©2022 Cox Media Group