DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. (CBS) The elementary school teacher who saved Josie Lou Ratley from a violent beating is speaking out about the shocking incident that left Ratley in a medically induced coma.
Walter Welsh says he was about 100 feet away from the bus stop when he noticed a commotion with a boy standing over a girl in the school bus area on campus.
"At first I thought they were playing," Welsh told CBS affiliate WFOR Monday. "His foot came down. Came down a second time. When I saw him cock his leg, he kicks her. I'm screaming, 'Stop!'"
Welsh says he ran over to Ratley and stopped Wayne Treacy before he was able to land the third kick. He realized that Ratley was gravely injured and told one of the other adults to call for an ambulance while he escorted Treacy to the school office.
Welsh told WFOR that he asked Treacy what he was thinking, and Treacy answered " 'She talked about my dead brother.'"
"What do you say to a 15-year-old who has that kind of hate?" Welsh asked. "I don't know."
Welsh says Treacy was crying when they got to the office, then he noticed Treacy's footwear.
"I said, 'Are those steel toed boots?' That's when he told me,'Yeah, they're steel toed boots,'" Welsh told the station. "I had to leave the room then, because I was a little bit disturbed."
Ratley's family and their attorney, Rick Freedman, have been critical of the security on the school campus.
But Welsh said a premeditated attack is difficult to stop. "How do you anticipate something as heinous and savage as that, that's premeditated?"
"I'm 56-years-old, and I never seen anything like it," he said. "If you see the girl, tell baby girl to open her eyes and smile one more time. Tell her mother I'll always be sorry I didn't get their faster. That's all I can say."