Teachers hold down intruder until police arrive

Teachers held down this intruder until authorities arrived.
Published: May. 24, 2022 at 8:20 PM EDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Metro Nashville School teachers worked together to hold down one man who forced his way into a school.

Some Nashville school staff members say they had a close call when a man forced his way into Inglewood Elementary School. Some school workers are recovering from their injuries from fending him off. However, one teacher said she didn’t think twice about tackling the intruder.

Rachel Davis is a kindergarten teacher at Inglewood Elementary School. She says around 10:00 AM, May 11, her kids were going inside from recess when Onreka Gray jumped over the fence and ran towards the kids.

“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.’ And eventually, he wanted to get in so bad that he was lunging towards the kids,” David said she tried to block him from getting inside while she was yelling for help. “We struggled for a while, and he made it inside the building.”

Davis says the next thing she knew; she was tackling Gray.

“These children feel like my children and just that strong desire that I was going to do anything I could do to make sure they were safe,” Davis explained. She said this reaction was instinctive. She broke her elbow as she fell to the ground.

“We both fell backward, and he fell on top of me, and eventually it took me, Nikki, and Shay all of us together to get him in the corner and restrain him from getting down further down the hallway.”

Inglewood Elementary School’s bookkeeper Shay Patton and secretary Nikki Thomas helped hold gray down in the hallway for 10 minutes while waiting for the police.

“I got him in a headlock, put his arm behind his back, and put my legs across him so he wouldn’t get free,” Thomas said.

Thomas, Patton, and Davis all got hurt while keeping Gray away from the students, but Patton said this situation could have been much worse.

“We didn’t even think about weapons. He could have had anything. I didn’t even think about that until hours later. I was like... Not only did we protect them, but we could have endangered our own lives... We did endanger our own lives,” Patton said. “I don’t know what he was trying to do, but I’m grateful that he barely got into the door, and that was it.”

Thomas says this goes to show their school motto, ‘Together We Grow,’ rings true.

“We are stronger together,” Thomas said. “I’m thankful for the procedure in place for lockdown. Everybody acted immediately, and that also kept the kids safe.”

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