Hero principal wrestles crazed intruder at Queens elementary school

Hero principal wrestles crazed intruder at Queens elementary school

A crazed intruder barged into a Queens elementary school through an open front door and was wrestled to the ground by staff — including the jui jitsu-trained principal — before cops arrived, The Post has learned.

The alarming incident at PS 28, the Pre-K to 3 Thomas Emanuel Early Childhood Center in Corona, occurred about an hour before dismissal Thursday, when an unarmed man described as “agitated and combative” burst in.

“He came through the front door and just ran,” said a source with knowledge of the incident. “The school safety agent tried to stop him. He fought with her. Then he tried to get into the elevator up to the floors,” where kids were still in classrooms.

A school aide started wrestling with the intruder. Then Principal Robert Quintana, who practices the martial art jiu jitsu, joined in bringing the suspect to the ground, where the safety agent handcuffed him.

“I was scared,” Quintana told colleagues later, according to a source.

“Nobody’s going to attack or hurt my family,” he said, referring to students and staff.

During the scuffle, staffers made three 911 calls. But cops from the nearby 110th Precinct reportedly took 19 minutes to arrive, the insider said.

The school was locked down past the 2:20 p.m. dismissal time, until an ambulance took the intruder to a city hospital for evaluation, cops said.

Principal Robert Quintana wrestled an intruder to the ground by using his jiu jitsu training.
PS 28

“The  heroic actions of Principal Quintana, school safety and other staff members prevented the situation from escalating,”  Matthew Crescio, a parent and president of the District 24 Community Education Council, told The Post.

“If this individual was armed with a weapon, he would have been in the building for 19 minutes.”

Crescio cited the need to lock all school doors – one of several safety reforms under review in NYC after the school massacre in Uvalde, Tex.

The NYPD would not explain the reported 19-minute response time, saying only that cops responded to the 911 call at 1:47 pm.

“Upon arrival, school staff advised that the male appeared disoriented when he entered the school. The individual became agitated and combative with school staff and attempted to harm himself,” a spokesman said.

The NYPD would not name the “emotionally disturbed” man, who was not arrested, but taken to an unspecified public hospital “for further evaluation.”

That afternoon, Quintana posted a letter to parents and guardians without crediting himself, saying, “Shortly before dismissal, an unauthorized individual entered our school building. School Safety Agents and NYPD immediately responded, and the school went into a brief lockdown until the individual was apprehended and taken into custody. No students or staff were harmed during this incident.”

Quintana did not immediately return a call for comment.

In another frightening incident last December, a knife-wielding intruder slipped inside Robert A. Van Wyck Junior High School in Briarwood, and robbed an 11-year-old boy. Outraged parents told The Post they didn’t learn of the incident from the school until four days later. 

Additional reporting by Dana Kennedy

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