James Vernon, 75, had combat training, but he never had to use it â€” until recently.
According to the Pekin Daily Times, 19-year-old Dustin Brown walked into Morton Public Library in Illinois last week brandishing a hunting knife in each hand.
â€œIâ€™m going to kill some people,â€ Brown allegedly shouted.
But, as Brown would later tell police, Brown â€œfailed [his] mission to kill everyoneâ€ thanks to efforts by Vernon.
The Pekin Daily Times reported that a group of 16 children in a homeschool chess club dove beneath a table once Brown entered the room. Vernon said he quickly tried to engage him in a conversation in order to calm him down and distract him from the children.
â€œI tried to talk to him. I tried to settle him down. I didnâ€™t, but I did deflect his attention,â€ Vernon said. â€œI asked him if he was from Morton, did he go to high school. I asked what his problem was. He said his life sucks. Thatâ€™s a quote.â€
According to the Pekin Daily Times, Brown was facing child pornography charges and focused his attention on the group of children, between the ages of seven and 13, when he walked into the library. But thanks to Vernon, he didnâ€™t get a chance to hurt them.
Vernon said he would take a few steps toward Brown who would back away. Eventually, Vernon put himself between Brown and the libraryâ€™s conference room door.