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Principal tackles intruder.

Shannon Allen is the principal of Rayburn Elementary School in San Antonio, Texas. Recently, the educator was forced to rely more on the skills she polished as a high school athlete than those mastered in her college education coursework.

On the afternoon of January 25, a man entered the school and made his way to the library. Following school procedures, school staff members directed him to the main office.

Maybe the man had leftover childhood issues about being sent to the principal's office, but for whatever reason, once there, he told Principal Allen that he had a gun. Unknown to the intruder, however, she had observed him tossing the gun into a nearby trash can. She talked to the obviously disturbed man in a calming manner, but noticed that he constantly cast glances at the trash can, as if considering whether or not to retrieve the gun.

"He didn't know I knew where the weapon was. He continually glanced over there. He got up and I tried to coerce him to sit down. That's when he became agitated and went for the weapon in the trash can," Allen told reporters from KSAT-12 News in San Antonio.

The man, later identified as John Zermeno of Eagle Pass, Texas, finally tried to reach for the gun, whereupon Allen just acted instinctively by tackling him. "When he started going for the weapon, I knew his intent wasn't good," Allen told the San Antonio Express-News. "I just reacted."

"[It was] somewhat of a struggle--keeping him away from the weapon. We ended up kind of against the wall," Allen told KSAT reporters. A Harlandale Independent School District police officer arrived during the struggle and arrested the intruder. The principal added: "You think about the safety of the kids and what could have happened, and it all worked out fine."

Amidst all the congratulations Principal Allen has received was one tongue-in-cheek suggestion that she join the Dallas Cowboys as a tackle!
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Shannon Allen; John Zermeno
Author:Mass, Warren
Publication:The New American
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 6, 2006
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