Michael Brandon Hill, 20, armed with an AK-47, stormed into elementary school in Atlanta suburb and took secretary in front office hostage
- School had a buzzer system and locked doors but he slipped in behind a staff member
- Hill exchanged gunfire with police as they arrived
- Called Atlanta TV station and said he wanted news cameras to film him
- Secretary Antoinette Tuff talked him out of killing anyone
The crazed gunman who stormed a suburban Atlanta elementary school and threatened to shoot everyone has a ‘long history of mental problems’ and was ‘bound to do something stupid’ his brother said today.
Michael Hill, 20, was arrested yesterday without killing or even injuring a single person at Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur after a brave and unarmed school secretary managed to talk him into surrendering.
Antoinette Tuff revealed last night that Hill told her he had no reason to live because no one loved him.
‘And I just explained to him that I loved him,’ Tuff told ABC News. ‘I didn’t know much about him. I didn’t know his name but I did love him and it was scary because I knew at that moment he was ready to take my life along with his, and if I didn’t say the right thing, then we all would be dead.’
His brother Timothy Hill also spoke to ABC and told them: ‘I honestly can tell you he has got a long history of medical disorders, including bipolar, and that could make you snap on a dime.
‘My mom’s almost looked like a drugstore at one point. There was so many different medications he was on.’
Hill, 22, said he is not close to his brother and last saw him in January 2011.
He did not reveal exactly what his mental health issue but said he was taking drugs for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder since he was six-years-old.
‘I had a feeling he was going to eventually, one day, do something stupid, but not of this magnitude,’ he said, adding that he once threatened to kill him.
Michael Hill, 20, slipped into the school on Tuesday afternoon behind a parent who was buzzed in through the locked doors.
He stormed into a front office brandishing an AK-47 and demanded a TV news crew film his ensuing shootout with police, in which he intended to die.
But, his suicidal plan was thwarted by Antoinette Tuff, an unimposing, unarmed bookkeeper. She steadfastly refused to allow him to go anywhere near the young children of her school and then convinced him to drop his weapons, empty his pockets and give himself up.
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The shooting resulted in no injuries, but the incident nonetheless recalls the horrifying massacre last December at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in which a lone gunman with an assault rifle killed 20 students and six teachers before taking his own life.
Ms Tuff may very well have prevented similar tragedy at McNair Academy.
‘He had a look on him that he was willing to kill – matter of fact he said it. He said that he didn’t have any reason to live and that he knew he was going to die today,’ Ms Tuff told WSB-TV.
‘I knew that if he got out that door he was gonna kill everybody.’
GBI Director Vernon Keenan said the incident was terrifying for parents and students alike, but that the it could have been much worse.
‘It takes a lot of resources to handle something like this,’ Mr Keenan told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. ‘We were dern lucky we didn’t have anyone killed in the school.’
Police say Hill, armed with an AK-47 assault rifle, multiple other weapons and a backpack full of spare ammunition, barged into the front office of the school, fired a shot and told Ms Tuff to call an Atlanta TV station, saying that he wanted camera crews to ‘start filming as police die.’
As officers began arriving at the school, he fired at least six shots at them from the office. Police returned fire. No one was hit in either exchange of gunfire.
‘He told me he was sorry for what he was doing. He was willing to die,’ Ms Tuff told WSB-TV.
Ms Tuff realized that she had to keep Hill busy while teachers evacuated the school’s 870 students.
At one point, Hill started to leave the office and step into the hallway, where he would have had access to students. Ms Tuff stopped him and told him that she was not going to let him leave.
He refused to tell her his name, so Ms Tuff decided that she would keep his attention focused on her by telling her own story.
Ms Tuff described to Hill the heartbreak of her marriage falling apart after 33 years and the ‘roller coaster’ of opening her own business.
‘I told him, “OK, we all have situations in our lives,”‘ she said. ‘It was going to be OK. If I could recover, he could, too.’
Eventually she managed to calm Hill down. She then convinced him to change his mind, that he should surrender rather than dying in a blaze of glory in a police shootout.
Police SWAT teams and bomb squads feared that Hill planted bombs in his car in the parking lot of the school. They detonated a controlled blast in the trunk of the car and evacuated the neighborhood around his nearby house before making entry to search for more weapons and bombs.
WSB-TV reports that the school has a buzzer system that limits access to outsiders, but that that Hill may have slipped in behind a parent who was walking into the building.
The students had to be evacuated through the back of the elementary school because police were concerned that the gunman’s car could be rigged to explode and kill students if they fled through the front exit.
Firefighters cut a hole in fencing at the back of the school property that students had to run through to escape the school.
Just a week into the new school year, the students – pre-kindergarten to fifth grade – sat outside along a fence in a field hours until school buses came to take them to their waiting parents and other relatives at a nearby Wal-Mart.
When the first bus arrived about three hours after the shooting, cheers erupted in the store parking lot from relieved relatives, several of them sobbing.
Hill was arrested months ago, though his neighbors described his as a quiet, ‘average guy.’
His connection to the home was not immediately clear, though it appears he was staying less than three miles away from the campus.
Hill is currently being interviewed by detectives, who hope to find out what drove him to walked into a school with an assault rifle.
He is charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, terroristic threats and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon
Waiting for word: Concerned parents lined up outside the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy school near Atlanta on Tuesday afternoon when they heard about the shooting
Original article at: Daily Mail