Elderly Veteran Fights off Knife Attack to Save 16 Children

(Photo: Pekin Daily Times/Robert Downen)

On Thursday, 16 children and several mothers had gathered in a meeting room at the Morton Public Library in Morton, Illinois. A 19-year old man wielding two knives walked in and, blocking the door, announced his intention to kill them.

Standing between him and the children was 75-year old James Vernon. Vernon talked to the criminal, maneuvered him away from the door, then signaled the kids to slip out. After they did so, Vernon made good use of the knife-fighting training that the US Army gave him 50 years ago. The Pekin Daily Times reports:

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. Vernon’s medium build was enough to overcome his smaller attacker.

“I grabbed him and threw ... Somehow he wound up on a table” with the knife in his left hand pinned under his body, Vernon said. “I hit him on the (right) collarbone with my closed hand” until Brown, his arm numbed by the blows, dropped that knife.

Vernon held the attacker down until the police arrived. He was badly cut in the fight, but is recovering.

-via Joe Carter

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