HOLLY HILL — A man barged into a fourth-grade classroom at Holly Hill Elementary School Monday morning, tackled the teacher and broke her arm, Holly Hill Police Chief Josh Detter reported.
Torian Tazjon Gadson, 21, of 339 Acola Lane, Holly Hill, has been charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature and is being held at the Orangeburg County Detention Center.
A bond hearing for Gadson will be held at 9 a.m. Tuesday.
Students witnessed the assault by Gadson on their teacher, Detter said in a interview in front of the school Monday afternoon.
“We got a call that there was a disturbance at the school and they had it on lockdown,” he said. “Apparently, a young man was beating on a side window trying to get in (the school) and they sent him around to the front. He was buzzed in and instead of going to the front office, he kept on going. The assistant principal was notified that somebody was buzzed in that didn’t stop by the office.”
Detter said the subject made his way to the teacher’s classroom and was able to get into the room.
“The teacher picked up a trophy to defend herself from him and when she did that, he lunged and tackled her to the ground and caused her to break her arm,” he said.
The teacher was rushed to the Regional Medical Center in Orangeburg, where it was confirmed her arm had been broken, Detter said.
“She knew who he (her assailant) was and when she told me, I knew who he was because we have a history with him,” the chief said “He’s a young man with mental issues and apparently he’s off his medication. His mother told me he’s (been diagnosed as) a paranoid schizophrenic.
“He has a fascination with the teacher’s son and he felt she’s what’s standing between the two of them being together. And, that’s why he came here today. To get her out of the picture.”
Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office deputies and officers from the Elloree and Eutawville police departments assisted Holly Hill police in tracking the suspect to his home, where he barricaded himself inside, Detter reported.
“His mother was able to talk him into coming outside. He came out, and I asked, ‘What happened at school today?’ and he said, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about.’ So I told him I had a report that he barged in there, caused a commotion, assaulted a woman and he was going to be placed under arrest,” the chief said.
“He just turned around and put his hands behind his back, and that was it.”
Detter also reported that prior to the incident at the school Monday morning, Gadson got into an altercation with the manager at the Holly Hill Hot Spot, a gas station.
“For now, he’s got at least one count of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, which is a felony, and he’ll have to go to General Sessions Court for that,” Detter said. “He’ll have a bond hearing in the morning. I did also charge him with trespassing.”
Gadson confronted the same teacher at Holly Hill Elementary last year and was placed on trespass notice at that time, he said.
Orangeburg Consolidated School District Three Superintendent Dr. Jesulon Gibbs-Brown confirmed an intruder entered Holly Hill Elementary School shortly after 8 a.m. Monday.
She said the intruder had an altercation with a teacher but was apprehended almost immediately.
The school’s resource officer, who was at Lake Marion High School at the time, was called to the scene, and the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office and Holly Hill police were involved in apprehending the suspect, Gibbs-Brown said.
She said the school was placed on lockdown for about 45 minutes.
Students remained at Holly Hill Elementary the rest of the school day and received counseling from the guidance counselor and a social worker, the superintendent said.
Detter said, “I’m thankful that he (Gadson) just came here with his hands. There are a lot of things he could have done and I just feel for the children that had to see that.”
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