Michael Brandon Hill, the gunman arrested at Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Center after the Tuesday shooting is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday in DeKalb Superior Court.
As the 800 students return to classes that have been moved to McNair High School, bookkeeper Antoinette Tuff is credited for talking the gunman into not hurting anyone and surrendering to police.
In an interview with WSB-TV, Antoinette Tuff said she watched Hill load the gun and from a bag full of magazines and reload the gun following a shootout with police in front of the school.
20-year-old Michael Hill apparently was able to get into the school by walking in behind a parent who Tuff had buzzed into the building. Dressed in black, Hill was heavily armed carrying an AK-47 and other weapons. He was in the school building for more than an hour and walked in with the gun drawn. He fired shots off in the office, but also expressed regret as he apologized for his actions.
The fast and calm thinking of bookkeeper, Antoinette Tuff, saved lives as Tuff talked to Hill about her own personal struggles, how she has made it through and how he can do the same.
Tuff, filling in for the secretary at the time of the incident, told WSB-TV that she credits God for the outcome because she was scared and knew if she did not keep talking to Hill he would leave the office and start shooting students, faculty and staff.
Tuff told the Hill to put the gun and the big bag of items he brought into the building down. She also had him to lay down on the floor until police was able to come into the building. She remained in communication with police and the WSB-TV‘s assignment desk editor, Lacey LeCroy who Tuff ending up calling at the request of Hill. LeCroy recalled her experience in an interview .
When Hill first arrived in the office he told Tuff to call a news station because he wanted them to film his planned shootings.
Antoinette Tuff showed compassion and was able to relate to the Michael Hill’s pain and apparent illness. She even got him to call a family member during the ordeal.
Today as the community thanks law enforcement and McNair Academy for successfully executing its emergency plan, a special “thank you” goes to Antoinette Tuff. Her bravery and calm spirit changed the outcome of what could have been a tragic situation. Tuff says she owes it all to God.