An armed school employee at an elementary school in Utah prevented an alleged kidnapping on the school’s playground earlier this week, police said.
The incident happened at Lincoln Elementary School on Tuesday and involved a 41-year-old male suspect, identified as Ira Cox-Berry, the Ogden Police Department said in a press release.
Cox-Berry has been accused of trying to abduct an 11-year-old girl while she was on the playground. He allegedly walked up to the young girl and pulled her towards him, as if he was “intended to leave with her.”
The unidentified employee was nearby and saw the incident unfold, confronting Cox-Berry while demanding him to leave the area.
“Cox-Berry temporarily unhanded the student, allowing the employee time to usher the children into an adjacent classroom,” according to the police release.
After the employee managed to take the students to safety, the suspect went towards the classroom and began “punching” the window in an apparent attempt to force his way into the classroom.
“At that point, the employee produced a firearm, holding Cox-Berry off while simultaneously calling 911,” police said.
“The involved school employee is a Concealed Firearm Permit holder and was lawfully in possession of his gun when the incident occurred,” they added.
Responding officers arrived shortly after the call and managed to take the suspect into custody f0llowing a brief struggle. He was booked into the Weber County Jail and charged with one count of child kidnapping, a first-degree felony.
Authorities said the investigation is still ongoing but they currently haven’t identified a link between the victim and Cox-Berry.
Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, a Republican in his first term, signed a measure into law in February that allows people in the state to carry a concealed gun without a permit.
“This bill protects Second Amendment rights, reduces permitless open carry (which is already legal), and includes significant funding for suicide prevention,” the governor said in a statement at the time.
Former President Donald Trump also was a strong supporter of these rights and proposed while in office that properly trained teachers should be able to carry guns to schools as a way to offer protection for students.
President Joe Biden’s outlook on the Second Amendment is significantly different from that of his predecessor, who was generally supportive of gun ownership rights.
Biden is on record as supporting some of the more heavy-handed gun control proposals such as banning the manufacture and sale of military-style firearms and high-capacity magazines, as well as regulating the possession of existing so-called assault weapons. He favors limiting individuals to the purchase of one firearm per month and banning all internet-based sales of firearms, ammunition, kits, and gun parts.
The president also supports extending the background check time period from the current 3 days to 10 days, as well as mandating background checks for all gun sales, including those that take place at gun shows and online. He would reverse the Trump-backed repeal of the law that required the Social Security Administration to inform on people and wants to encourage more states to adopt red flag laws. He also eventually wants all guns sold to be so-called smart guns, which need an owner’s fingerprint to operate.
Pro-gun control activist groups have expressed support for Biden’s efforts.
Matthew Vadum contributed to this report.