OGDEN, Utah (ABC4) – A 41-year-old man is in custody after allegedly trying to kidnap an 11-year-old girl in Ogden.
Ogden police were called to a local elementary school Tuesday after a teacher was able to stop the attempted kidnapping.
“An employee was watching the kids from the inside and observed the suspect walk up to this 11-year-old girl [on the playground] and put his hands on her in an attempt to take her,” says Lt. Brian Eynon of the Ogden City Police Department. “He ran outside, the employee did, and confronted the suspect. At that same time, the girl had the ability to pull away from the suspect.”
The teacher was able to get all 20 students off the playground and into the school.
Police the 41-year-old suspect, Ira Cox-Berry, then approached the building and began punching the window in an attempt to force his way inside.
That’s when the employee, a concealed carry permit holder, produced a firearm and held Cox-Berry off while calling 911.
“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,” says the Lieutenant. “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.”
Officers quickly arrived and took Cox-Berry into custody after a brief struggle.
Lt. Eynon adds, “the suspect was high, high on some type of narcotic.”
Investigators says there is no link between Cox-Berry and the young girl.
“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 scene there when this went down,” says Lt. Eynon.
“A teacher intervened when there was a situation that threatened students’ safety. This teacher, this school employee, is a hero. We don’t disagree with that at all,” Ogden School District’s Jer Bates tells us. “Yes, it was a very scary situation, something we take very seriously, but it came out with a good ending, meaning no students were physically harmed, no adults were physically harmed, that this was an incident where our emergency response protocols were acted out.”
The school district brought in counselors to help the students deal with the trauma, including the 11-year-old girl.
“At this time, to the best of our knowledge, the student is coping quite well considering the very traumatic experience that they endured,” he adds.
Cox-Berry has been booked into the Weber County Jail on one count of child kidnapping, a first-degree felony. Police say more charges are pending.