Army veteran fights off man threatening children with knives

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James Vernon spoke with a local television station about how he stopped the thwart Tuesday's attack.

MORTON, Ill.  — A 75-year-old Army veteran who fought off a knife-wielding man who was threatening to kill children at an Illinois library is recovering from his injuries.

According to a court affidavit, 19-year-old Dustin Brown told police he “failed in his mission to kill everyone” when he went into the Morton Public Library with two hunting knives on Tuesday.

James Vernon was teaching chess class with 16 children when authorities say Brown walked into the room.

Vernon told the Pekin Daily News he tried to calm Brown and deflect his attention from the children. Brown responded by slashing Vernon with a knife. Vernon disarmed the man in the ensuing struggle, during which the children escaped.

Vernon suffered several cuts in the battle, requiring surgery.

Brown is accused of attempted murder.