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Football star tackles girl with gun on school bus

  • Story Highlights
  • "I just tried to get her to ... point the gun at me," Kaleb Eulls says
  • The 6-foot-4 defensive end tackles girl to floor, takes gun away from her
  • Mississippi football player credited with saving lives of more than 20 students
  • Sheriff says, "There would've been a lot of grieving families," were it not for Eulls
By Emanuella Grinberg
CNN
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(CNN) -- A Mississippi high school football player is being hailed as a hero for saving a school bus full of elementary and high school students from a gun-wielding girl.

Bus camera footage captured the girl walking the bus aisle with a gun in her left hand.

Kaleb Eulls, 18, says he tried to keep the gun-wielding girl's focus on him and away from other students.

Surveillance camera footage on the Yazoo County school bus on Tuesday captured 18-year-old Kaleb Eulls tackling the 14-year-old girl while the children evacuated the bus.

Eulls managed to wrestle the .380-caliber semi-automatic handgun from her, Yazoo County Sheriff Thomas Vaughan told CNN.

Eulls was asleep with headphones in his ears when the 14-year-old girl rose from her seat with a weapon in her hand, he told CNN's "American Morning."

"One of my sisters woke me up and said, 'Kaleb, the girl has a gun,' " he said. Video Watch Eulls describe what happened »

Twenty-two children ages 5 to 18 were on the bus to Linwood Elementary, Yazoo County Junior High and Yazoo County High schools when the incident began, Vaughan said.

The girl started pacing the aisle, shouting and pointing the gun, threatening to shoot those she accused of teasing her, Eulls said.

At one point, the bus driver calmly called her up to the front and attempted to talk her down. But she returned to the middle of the bus and resumed shouting -- most of which is inaudible on the footage, except for the comment, "Don't talk to me."

That's when Eulls, a 6-foot-4-inch, 255-pound high school senior who has verbally committed to play for Mississippi State University after graduation, went into action.

"I just tried to get her to focus directly on me, just point the gun at me, so I would know she's not pointing it at anyone else besides me," he said.

"And in a split second, I guess she just looked off the bus or flinched or blinked, and I knew that would be my only chance, and I just went at her."

The defensive end and quarterback, recognized as one of the best players in the state by The Clarion-Ledger newspaper in Jackson, tackled the girl to the floor and took the gun from her.

"After I got the gun loose, I told my bus driver that I had it, and I ran out the back of the bus with it and disarmed it," he said.

In the footage, the girl can be seen running after him. Video Watch the confrontation unfold on camera »

In the aftermath, Eulls was humble.

"At that point I just knew something had to be done or the situation could have been worse," he told CNN.

The girl was arrested and taken into custody as a juvenile. She faces 22 counts of attempted aggravated assault, 22 counts of kidnapping and one count of possession of a firearm on school property because the bus is leased by the school district, Vaughan said.

Everyone else, including Eulls, continued on to school, where he received a hero's welcome, Vaughan said.

Eulls' mother said she was a little shocked by the incident.

"When he tackled her to get the gun, he could've got shot you know -- she could've shot him. ... His career could've been ruined for the rest of his life," Ora Eulls told HLN's Mike Galanos. Video Watch Eulls' mother talk about the incident »

"I told him I was proud of him, we all was proud of him, and I told him don't ever scare me like that again, because he did a tremendous thing saving 23 lives, plus he put his life in danger for their lives."

Since Tuesday, the high school and police office have been flooded with calls from the media and the public seeking more information on Yazoo County's hometown hero.

"Things could've got real ugly, and there would've been a lot of grieving families in Yazoo County right now," Vaughan said. "I'm just extremely glad this young man took the bull by the horns and stopped a potentially deadly situation."

Vaughan said he couldn't be more pleased with the situation -- especially when he learned that Eulls was bound for Mississippi State.

From the clocks and banners decorating his office to the screen saver on his computer, Vaughan is a Bulldogs fan through and through.

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"I'll be tickled to see him on the field. You can see in his body makeup he's extremely strong and fast, and not only is he strong in body, he's strong in mind and in his heart," the sheriff said.

"He's one of the most humble 18-year-olds you will ever see. He's a great kid, and if he maintains his mind-set as he has it now, he'll go a long ways."

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