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Nashville Elementary School Teachers Hailed as Heroes for Stopping Intruder


Staff members and teachers at Nashville’s Inglewood Elementary School sprung into action when an intruder recently attempted to force his way into the building.

The moment terrified staff and students watching from the playground.

“Me and another teacher noticed him kind of just mingling at the bottom of the playground. You start to get the feeling that something just doesn’t feel right,” said Rachel Davis, remembering the moment she had that feeling earlier in May.

“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,” the kindergarten teacher said.

“We struggled for a while, and he made it inside the building.”

WKRN reported:

Davis, along with another teacher, noticed a man hanging out near the fence, just outside of the playground. During the initial conversation, Davis remembers speaking with the man, later identified as Onreka Gray, and telling him that he needed assistance, he would need to go to the front office and speak with someone.

Davis explained Gray wouldn’t take no for an answer.

“I just heard Mrs. Davis say ‘he’s trying to get into the building, he’s trying to get into the building.’ So, immediately, I’m like you’re not getting into this building, like to the top of my lungs yelling, ‘You are not getting into this building,’” remembered Katrina Thomas, the security officer at the elementary school.

Davis and Thomas explained how the entire incident unfolded in front of the students when Gray tried to force his way into the building.

“As soon as the door was opened to let the kids in, he hopped the fence and started racing to come to the door,” Davis said. “I remember just grabbing him and just trying to hold on super tight, and my kids are just staring at me.”

Davis explained that’s when Gray forced his way inside. Thankfully, other staff members jumped in to help. Davis told News 2, it wasn’t until it was all over, when others told her about her heroic actions, as they watched her jump on top of Gray and fall backwards, all in an effort to make sure he didn’t get inside the school.

“I’m yelling at the kids, ‘run ya’ll, run.’ So, all the kids got in,” said Thomas.

As the Washington Examiner noted, the school immediately went into lockdown during the chaotic scene.

Shay Patton, a school bookkeeper, said, “And then Miss Davis — she jumped right on his neck from behind and she fell into that corner.”

Afterward, both Patton and secretary Katrina Thomas joined in the takedown.

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The women reportedly held the intruder down for 10 minutes until police arrived.

“We didn’t even think about weapons. He could have had anything. I didn’t even think about that until hours later,” said Patton. “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.”

“But he was just wild,” Thomas said of the intruder. “You know he was just over the top, fighting, scuffling, trying to get away.”

A suspect was later identified as Onreka Gray.

According to witnesses, Gray jumped a playground fence during recess on May 11.

“I think in situations like that I mean you just don’t think about putting your life on the line,” Thomas said. “You just step in and do what you need to do.”


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