A Salt Lake City area officer attacked and beaten behind a middle school returned to work with a black eye and a hero’s welcome.

Officer John Clark of Unified Police was called out to the back of the school to investigate a strange man who suddenly showed up at South Hills Middle School in Riverton on Monday afternoon. The man was carrying a board, KSL reports.

Officer Clark said the man, who police later identified as 21-year-old Kalen Clark, would not give a clear answer as to why he was there or what he was up to.

Officer Clark said the man would not provide proper ID and then attempted to get into a school employee’s car while the employee was still inside. That’s when Officer Clark moved in for the arrest.

“(I) tried to pull him to the ground and as I grabbed his arm the other one had the 2X2 [4-foot board] in it and that’s when I got struck in the head. It hurt and after we wrestled I could see my face was bleeding,” said Officer Clark.

Officer Clark was hit and beaten several times during the two-minute struggle. He finally managed to kick his radio toward school hall monitor Stephanie Olsen, and asked her to radio for help.

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