Teachers in Tennessee Hold Down ‘Wild’ Intruder ‘Lunging Towards the Kids’

A group of teachers in Tennessee sustained injuries after they pinned down a man who had reportedly forced his way into an elementary school in Nashville.

The man, identified as Onreka Gray, jumped the playground’s fence and attempted to force his way into Inglewood Elementary School on May 11, teachers recalled during an interview with WTVF this week.

The incident happened during a kindergarten recess at the East Nashville school that day, prompting three female teachers to heroically intervene by tackling and holding down the intruder until police arrived.

Kindergarten teacher Rachel Davis was the first person who confronted Gray, but the man managed to force his way past her, according to the 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,'” Davis told WSMV.

“Eventually, he wanted to get in so bad that he was lunging towards the kids,” she recalled, adding that they “struggled for a while” as she attempted to block his way into the school. The man then eventually forced his way through into the building.

NTD Photo
Onreka Gray in a booking photo. (Courtesy of Metro Nashville Police Department)

Katrina Thomas, a secretary at the elementary school, told WTVF that she was walking down the first-grade hallway when she heard Davis yelling: “He’s trying to get in the building, he’s trying to get in the building.”

“So I was yelling at them ‘y’all run, run, run’ and by the time I turned around, my co-worker Miss Shay was helping Miss Davis hold him down,” Thomas said.

A third teacher, bookkeeper Shay Patton, told the station that she got a call from one of the teachers about “a guy [who] was on the playground that did not belong” and rushed to her colleagues’ aid to subdue the man.

The group of teachers all got hurt while keeping Gray away from the schoolchildren. Davis broke her elbow as she fell to the ground during the scuffle, according to WSMV.

The trio held down the intruder for 10 minutes while waiting for police to arrive.

“He was just wild,” Thomas recalled. “You know he was just over the top, fighting, scuffling, trying to get away.”

Gray is facing charges that include assault, aggravated criminal trespassing, and resisting arrest, WKRN-TV reported.