UPDATE: Man allegedly grabs 11-year-old girl at Ogden school, employee draws gun on suspect
OGDEN — Police arrested an Ogden man on suspicion of child kidnapping Tuesday after he allegedly grabbed an 11-year-old girl on a Lincoln Elementary School playground.
A school employee confronted Ira Cox-Berry, 41, and demanded he leave and the man let go of the girl, allowing the employee to shepherd the girl and other students into a classroom, Ogden police said in a news release Wednesday afternoon.
Cox-Berry then punched a school window, leading another school employee to pull a handgun, holding off Cox-Berry and calling 911, the release said.
Officers arrested Cox-Berry “after a brief struggle,” the release said.
Cox-Berry “appeared to be high on narcotics,” Police Lt. Brian Eynon said Wednesday, adding that the incident remained under investigation.
A police probable cause statement said the girl’s parents told investigators they don’t know Cox-Berry. “We’re trying to figure out if he even knows the girl,” Eynon said.
The school, at 550 Canfield Drive, was placed on lockdown for a short time after the 2:30 p.m. incident, Eynon said.
The arrest affidavit said 19 other children were on the playground where the incident happened. School district spokesperson Jer Bates said a crisis response team was at the school Wednesday to talk to any students as needed.
“Not a kidnapping,” Bates responded when contacted about the case Wednesday morning. Asked to elaborate, he said he deferred to the police department regarding the specifics of the case.
“We can confirm nobody was injured and everybody is accounted for,” Bates said. “This is definitely something that is concerning for parents and school employees, and most of all concerning for our students.”
Bates praised students and teachers for following the school’s emergency response protocol and said the district appreciates the police department’s rapid response.
Police booked Cox-Berry into the Weber County Jail on suspicion of first-degree felony child kidnapping and asked that he be held without bail pending the filing of formal charges, which had not happened as of late Wednesday morning.
Cox-Berry has no prior felony record, according to state court records.
The police news release said the school employee with the gun is a concealed carry permit holder and was in lawful possession of the firearm.
This story has been updated to add new details.