Unarmed veteran, 75, takes down 19-year-old attacker who busted into chess class to kill kids

Dustin Brown
Dustin Brown. Photo credit Pekin Daily Tines.

An unarmed, elderly veteran is being hailed as a hero for fighting off a knife attack by a teenager bent on murdering children.

James Vernon was teaching a group of youngsters chess at the Morton Public Library in Illinois, Tuesday, when the knife-wielding 19-year-old, Dustin Brown stormed into the room yelling “I’m going to kill some people!”

Vernon got between Brown and the children, giving them time to escape, before using his U.S. Army knife-fight training from decades ago to disarm the teenager.

“I gave [the kids] the cue to get the heck out of there, and, boy, they did that. Quick, like rabbits,’ Vernon old the Pekin Daily Times.

“I tried to talk to him. I tried to settle him down,” Vernon said. “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.”

Once the room was cleared of everyone but him and the attacker, Vernon said “there was no more talking.”

“First rule of combat: Be fast and vigorous,” Vernon, who was trained for combat but never saw action, said.

“I grabbed him and threw … Somehow he wound up on a table,” Vernon said, adding that he hit him on the right collarbone until his arms numbed and he dropped the knife.

Brown was arrested, and later released on $800,000 bond, on charges of attempted murder, aggravated battery to a person over age 60, burglary and armed violence.

The 19-year-old is also due in court Monday on 22 child pornography charges he has had since March.

Social media heaped praise the hero.


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