When 19-year-old Dustin Brown entered the public library in Morton, Illinois, on Oct. 13 screaming that he wanted to kill children, James Vernon knew immediately how to respond.
Vernon, a 75-year-old Army veteran who was coaching a chess club at the library, told Pekin Daily Times that Brown entered the building with two hunting knives, yelling, “I’m going to kill some people.” While the 16 children and four adults hid under the tables, Vernon stood up to stop Brown from getting closer.
“I tried to talk to him. I tried to settle him down,” Vernon told Pekin Daily Times. “I didn’t, but I did deflect his attention [from the children] 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.”
Vernon distracted Brown until he could alert the children to run out of the room.
Brown slashed at Vernon from the right, and Vernon blocked him with his left hand. “I should have hit his wrist. That’s how you’re trained, but it’s been half a century,” Vernon said. “First rule of combat: Be fast and vigorous,” said Vernon, though himself not a combat vet, according to the Times.
Vernon managed to grab Brown and pin him to the table and then hit him on the collarbone, causing him to drop the knife. While Brown had slashed two arteries and a tendon on Vernon’s left hand, the veteran was able to hold him in place until police arrived.
Brown, who was reportedly free on bond for child pornography charges, was charged with attempted murder, armed violence, aggravated battery to a person over age 60, and burglary.
Vernon is recovering at home after surgery for his injuries.
Vernon’s wife, Hanna, told a local NBC news channel, “He is that type of a person and that’s one of the reasons why I married him.”
Watch James Vernon recount the attack for a NBC local news channel.
(From left to right) Chris Osman, Chris McKinley, Kent Kroeker, and Talon Burton
At least four American veterans were among a group of eight men arrested by police in Haiti earlier this week for driving without license plates and possessing an arsenal of weaponry and tactical gear.
Police in Port-au-Prince arrested five Americans, two Serbians, and one Haitian man at a police checkpoint on Sunday, according to The Miami-Herald. The men told police they were on a "government mission" but did not specify for which government, according to The Herald.
They also told police that "their boss was going to call their boss," implying that someone high in Haiti's government would vouch for them and secure their release, Herald reporter Jacqueline Charles told NPR.
What they were actually doing or who they were potentially working for remains unclear. A State Department spokesperson told Task & Purpose they were aware that Haitian police arrested a "group of individuals, including some U.S. citizens," but declined to answer whether the men were employed by or operating under contract with the U.S. government.
A photo shared by Hoda Muthana on her now-closed @ZumarulJannaTwitter account. (Twitter/ZumarulJannah)
The State Department announced Wednesday that notorious ISIS bride Hoda Muthana, a U.S.-born woman who left Alabama to join ISIS but began begging to return to the U.S. after recently deserting the terror group, is not a U.S. citizen and will not be allowed to return home.
A top Senate Republican and fierce ally of President Donald Trump reportedly exploded at Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan recently about the U.S. military's plans to withdraw all troops from Syria by the end of April.
"That's the dumbest f******g idea I've ever heard," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) reportedly replied when Shanahan confirmed the Trump administration still plans to complete the Syria withdrawal by April 30.
Later, Graham told Shanahan, "I am now your adversary, not your friend."