Superintendent lauded for disarming alleged gunman

A school superintendent is receiving high praise for disarming an alleged gunman at a Rockland County school Tuesday.

Police say Ken Mitchell knocked a revolver from the hands of a former NYPD officer at South Orangetown Middle School in Blauvelt after the man allegedly stormed into the building.

According to police, 37-year-old Peter Cocker, of Tappan, forced his way into Mitchell's office with a gun and locked the door. Police say the superintendent was able to disarm Cocker and wrestle him to the ground until police arrived.

A spokeswoman for the South Orangetown Central School District said Wednesday that Cocker has a sick child and was apparently upset over the district's swine flu policy.

Tom Marren, a New York City police captain who has two sons in the school, said the superintendent did a "great, heroic job. It's an honor to have him."

Cocker, who is being held at the Rockland County Jail, has been charged with kidnapping, coercion and burglary. The case against him is expected to be presented Friday to a grand jury.

AP wire services were used in this report.

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