A Texas man set fire to his mother, then went to a nearby school and held a teacher at knifepoint in a locked office before the superintendent broke down the door and helped free her, police and school officials said Monday.
George James Bradley, 32, was arrested on attempted murder and aggravated assault charges after the morning incident at the Rise Academy school, Lubbock police spokesman Sgt. Jonathan Stewart said. It was not immediately clear Monday afternoon whether Bradley had an attorney.
Bradley's mother was listed in critical condition at a Lubbock hospital with third-degree burns on her upper body, Stewart said. Superintendent Richard Baumgartner said he was grazed by the knife, and the teacher was unharmed.
Bradley walked into the school office about 9 a.m., announced that he'd killed his mother and asked the secretary to call 911, Audrey Saldivar, a school administrator, told The Associated Press by phone. Then he became agitated, locked the office door, pulled out a knife and forced a teacher into the Baumgartner's office, she said.
"It was just random," Saldivar said. "We didn't know what was happening."
Baumgartner told the AP that he had been notified of the situation and was walking toward the office, but when he saw the suspect lock the door, he entered a back door to the office as other staff members ran out.
"I heard screams, and realized someone else was still in there, so I started kicking the door open," he said. "I just reacted to an instinct. I made a split-second decision, because I knew he had a knife and there was somebody in there screaming for their life. I just thought that I had to enter that space and prevent violence being done."
Baumgartner said he fell backward as the door opened and the suspect came out swinging the knife. The man did not say anything as he stared at Baumgartner, who had gotten up and grabbed a chair, before he walked toward the front of the office.
The teacher was able to run out of Baumgartner's office and out the back office door, he said. Then the police arrived, and Bradley dropped his knife and did not resist arrest, the superintendent said.
All classrooms were immediately placed on lockdown, and no children witnessed the incident, Saldivar said. The charter school, which serves about 200 students from pre-kindergarten through the eighth grade, is made up of portable buildings and no classrooms are in the same building as the office, she said.
Lubbock, which is in West Texas, is about 300 miles northwest of Fort Worth.