El Paso Police: Teacher assaulted, blocked violent school intruder

EL PASO, Texas - An Irvin High School teacher stopped a school intruder who was looking to fight a student, El Paso ISD police said Tuesday.

Gordon Wofford, 66, was punched in the face for getting in the way of the suspect, according to Police. He suffered two black eyes and possibly a fractured nose.

EPISD Police said two Irvin students got in a fight outside campus during lunch time on Friday. One of the students told his older brother about the fight, which prompted the brother to go to the high school after lunch. 

Assad Taylor, 21, went on campus undetected after lunch and with the help of his brother, found the student's classroom. "He blended in with the other students because of his youthful appearance," said Chief Victor Araiza, of the EPISD Police Department. 

Once he got to the classroom, Taylor asked for the student but Wofford intervened. "They didn't seem friendly. They seemed a little bit older. Then I  got a clue from a student in the hallway that something wasn't right," said Wofford Tuesday.

Wofford asked the intruder to leave and blocked him entry into the classroom, before Taylor allegedly punched him and ran away.

Wofford bled from his nose and his face became bruised. 

"To know that someone assaulted Mr. Wofford, who is so caring and has personally helped me so much, was really sad," said one of Wofford's students on Tuesday.

Taylor evaded investigators since Friday but EPISD police arrested him Sunday morning at a friend's house in East El Paso, where they said he was hiding. He's at the county jail on a $10,000 bond facing charges of injury to an elderly person.

EPISD has at least one licensed Texas Police officer at every campus. A misconception is that they are security guards. "They are armed and trained and most of them are retired from law enforcement agencies and bring with them a lot of valuable experience," said Chief Araiza. 

The district also has 900 cameras throughout its campuses but Chief Araiza said it's impossible to monitor every entrance. "School campuses were never designed to be correctional facilities. They're designed to have accessibility to different parts of the building, to be inviting for parents and for kids and the community."

President of the El Paso Federation of Teachers, Lucy Clarke, said she's glad Taylor is charged. "For some people knowing that the victims will follow through with prosecution could be the deterrent that's needed."

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