16 children and their mothers were saved from a horrible attack from a 19 year old man by 75 year old US army veteran James Vernon.
Dustin Brown had been planning the attack for some weeks, but when he burst into the public library in Morton, Illinois, armed with hunting knives shouting “I’m gonna kill some people!” he was immediately distracted by the calm Mr Vernon. “I tried to talk to him. I tried to settle him down,” Mr Vernon explained. “I didn’t, but I did deflect his attention and calmed him a bit. I asked him if he was from Morton, did he go to high school. I asked what his problem was. He said his life sucks. That’s a quote.” While they were talking, Mr Vernon managed to place himself between Brown and the children who were hiding under tables with their mothers. Mr Vernon said that his knife-fight Army training came flooding back to him, although this was the first time he had ever had to put it into action. “I knew he was right-handed. He was trying to scare me, and he did.” But if Brown attacked, “I knew which hand it was coming from…First rule of combat: Be fast and vigorous,” said Vernon. Thankfully Mr Vernon’s build and still impressive strength for a septuagenarian was enough to overpower and restrain the smaller Mr Brown until assistance arrived, despite having two arteries and a tendon on his left hand cut as he blocked a knife swipe. A true hero.