Man terrifies children, staffers at Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club in Oklahoma City

Quick-thinking staff members locked the children into classrooms, blocked doors and called police.
by Juliana Keeping Published: June 26, 2012

A man terrified children and staff members at the Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club after breaking through a door and trying to start a fire at the youth center.

Oklahoma City police were called at 1:40 p.m. Monday and told a man was trying to enter the building at 2808 SE 44. More than 100 children between the ages of 6 to 11 were there at the time, according to a police report.

Megan Ellis, a unit director for the program, said a staff teacher was outside with children when a man scaled a fence around the center.

“The staff teacher outside saw him and got between him and a group of children outside,” Ellis said. “They were playing recreation games ... He sent the children inside and told the man to leave the property immediately.”

Ellis joined the teacher outside and told the man to leave. The man insisted people across the street were after him, she said.

“You could tell he was not all there,” she said. “He was saying, he's being followed, and he was extremely paranoid.”

Instead of leaving, the man charged Ellis and the teacher, who both ran inside and held a glass door shut to keep him out.

Nine staff members herded the children into classrooms and locked the doors as part of the club's emergency procedures, Ellis said.

The man managed to crack shatterproof glass with his fist, Ellis said. Then he picked up a heavy planter and threw it through the cracked glass. Ellis and the teacher ran into a gym and locked the doors from the inside.

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by Juliana Keeping
Enterprise Reporter
Juliana Keeping is on the enterprise reporting team for The Oklahoman and Keeping joined the staff of The Oklahoman in 2012. Prior to that time, she worked in the Chicago media at the SouthtownStar, winning a Peter Lisagor Award...
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