GOOCHLAND, VA (WWBT) - A Goochland Middle School teacher was assaulted by her ex-boyfriend at the school Wednesday morning, according to school officials.
Uriah Harris, 29, man attacked the teacher around 7:30 a.m., according to authorities. The incident occurred before school started, according to the Superintendent Dr. Pete Gretz and no children were in the area.
"She had been beaten rather severely about the face," says Goochland Sheriff James Agnew.
It happened in the parking lot about half an hour before school started. The teacher was getting something out of her car when she spotted Harris. That's when police say he started beating her.
School leaders say no children were on campus yet. But two teachers were there and jumped in to help.
"It's my understanding that they attempted to pull this man who is very large off this lady," says Sheriff Agnew.
Police say as officers swarmed the school; Harris took off but turned himself in around 9 a.m., according to sheriffs. About an hour later he turned himself over to police. Back at the crime scene, officers found a knife they believe belonged to Harris. Sheriff Agnew says if those teachers had not intervened this situation would have been much worse.
"Thank you we owe you a debt of gratitude and so does the poor teacher," he says.
The teacher is in the hospital recovering from wounds to her face and head and is expected to be okay, officials said. They refuted rumors that the teacher had been stabbed. Sheriffs said a knife was recovered at the school but it's not clear if it was part of the incident.
Harris was due in court Wednesday afternoon on a separate case involving an emergency protective order taken out by the teacher against him in November. According to court documents, the teacher received a threatening phone call from Harris on November 17 in which he told her that he would destroy their apartment if she wasn't home by 4 p.m. The teacher requested a police officer to escort her to the apartment, where they found several items broken and destroyed. A message was written on the wall saying, "You did this." A knife was also stabbed into the wall and the teacher's .44 magnum was missing.
As a result of the November 17 incident, an emergency protective order was issued and Harris was ordered to have no contact with the teacher and keep 1000 feet away from her. The court documents also show the teacher claims Harris pushed the teacher numerous times in the past, threw her around the apartment and attempted to strangle her. During one of the confrontations on November 2, the teacher claims she was left with a bloody gash to her head. Officers took out a warrant for assault and batter as a result of the confrontation.
The focus now is supporting the teacher in her recovery and making sure students and staff feel safe.
"We are available here with services, counseling and just a host of caring committed adults who are here to be a part of these kid's lives," says Dr. Peter Gretz, the acting superintendent for Goochland County schools.
Wednesday's hearing on the protective order was continued until February 4.
Acting Superintendent Peter Gretz's letter to the community - PDF