75 Year Old Army Vet Saves 16 Children from Knife-Weilding Attacker

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Veteran’s quick thinking and combat training thwarted murder attempt

Retired chess club teacher and information technology specialist James Vernon never imagined he’d have to use his combat training 50 years after leaving the Army.  But that’s just the situation he found himself in recently as he was monitoring a children’s chess club in the Morton, IL public library recently.

Troubled 19 year old Dustin Brown entered the library room with the intention of killing people, then himself.  He specifically wanted to kill children.

What happened in the short minutes after Brown entered the room is truly amazing.

Read the exciting story below of a true hero.


Sixteen children and a handful of their mothers found the only door to their library room blocked by a man who held hunting knives in each hand as he screamed, “I’m going to kill some people!”

Dustin Brown, 19, specifically wanted to kill children Tuesday at Morton Public Library, he said after the would-be victims escaped safely…

…Blood was shed, but mostly Vernon’s, because the retired chess club teacher kept his cool, gave his class an avenue of flight and remembered the knife-fight training the Army gave him five decades ago.

Vernon, 75, won his “90 seconds of combat” with Brown, “but I felt like I lost the war,” he chuckled. He cut two arteries and a tendon on Vernon’s left hand as Vernon blocked Brown’s knife swipe…

Brown… said he’d been planning to kill people and then himself for two weeks… entered the library at about 3:25 p.m…

…Vernon… recalled Thursday how he thwarted Brown’s alleged plans for mass murder and suicide.

“He actually ran into the room yelling, ‘I’m going to kill some people!’ He was holding two knives” that Vernon described as “hunting types” with “fixed blades about 5 inches” long…

…“I tried to talk to him. I tried to settle him down,” he said. “I didn’t, but I did deflect his attention” from the children “…

… “He backed away when I’d get closer.” With a few steps, Vernon put himself between Brown and the room’s door, with the children under the tables behind him.

“I gave them the cue to get the heck out of there, and, boy, they did that! Quick, like rabbits,” Vernon said.

“There were no more potential victims in the room. He focused on me….

…Brown slashed from the right towards Vernon, who blocked the blade with his left hand. “I should have hit his wrist. That’s how you’re trained, but it’s been half a century,” he said.

“First rule of combat: Be fast and vigorous,” said Vernon, who was trained but never served in combat…

…“I grabbed him and threw … I hit him on the (right) collarbone with my closed hand” until Brown, his arm numbed by the blows, dropped that knife…

You can read the entire story here.

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