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September 1, 2009

Eulls saves 22 lives from armed student

Tuesday morning began just like any other morning for football star Kaleb Eulls.

Eulls and his three younger sisters were among 22 passengers on a school bus bound for Yazoo County High School until a 14-year old female student boarded the bus armed with a .380 semi-automatic handgun threatening to shoot and ordering the bus driver to pull over.

Eulls had fallen asleep at the back of the bus listening to his mp3 player and did not realize what was happening until one of his sisters woke him up.

"My sister that was in front of me woke up and told me that the girl had a gun," Eulls said. "She was pointing it back and forth at other people and the little kids that were sitting at the back. I just thought real quick and tried to grab her attention before she pointed the gun at anybody else. I wanted her to point it at me so she wouldn't point it at anybody else."

Eulls then opened up the emergency door located in the back and began evacuating as many students as he could from the rear of the bus while trying to reason with the armed female.

"I just tried to talk to her and calm her down," said the 6-foot-4, 255-pound Eulls. "She was just getting louder and louder. I guess for a quick second she looked out the window and when she did that I just sprung at her. I just knocked her down and got the gun away from her. When I got the gun I ran out the back door and disarmed it."

Eulls, who is a four-star defensive end that is verbally committed to play football at Mississippi State next year, was not concerned for his own well being at the moment. He selflessly did what he thought was the right thing to save the life of the others on board.

"I was just scared for the younger kids and my family that was on the bus," Eulls said. "I was just thinking things out step-by-step as quickly as I could. After we got to the school and watched the tape I just sat there thinking 'what in the world did I just do?' I just thought about what if this would have happened or if this would have happened? It was just crazy."

Eulls, already a hometown sports hero in the town of just over 1,300, earned the respect of the local law enforcement.

"The (officers) who have been there for a long time told me that they have stared down many barrels before and always felt like it was a big cannon pointing at them," Eulls said. "It is one scary feeling."

Yazoo County Sheriff Tommy Vaughn was quoted in the Jackson, Miss., based The Clarion Ledger saying "If it hadn't been for this star football player, things could have been different. He didn't go overboard, but he did exactly what it took to get her on the ground.

"He made the statement to one of my deputies that if she was going to shoot anyone he would rather she shoot him. Watching him do that and him doing such a heroic act and not even caring about his own safety, that's something you don't see every day."

The female assailant was arrested on 22 counts of attempted aggravated assault, 22 counts of kidnapping and one count of possession of a firearm on school property. She was taken to the county juvenile detention facility.

As for people now calling him a hero, Eulls feels he was just doing what anyone else would have done in that situation.

"I just tell them thank you and not to do anything crazy like that," Eulls said.

Eulls is rated the No. 19 defensive end in the nation and the No. 8 overall prospect in Mississippi by Rivals.com. He holds scholarship offers from the likes of Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Ole Miss, Southern Miss and Tennessee but has been committed to the Bulldogs since early July.


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