One day after the dramatic grade school shooting incident in Atlanta that caused more than 800 students and teachers to flee for their lives, school clerk Antoinette Tuff is being praised as a real life super hero. The brave school employee appeared on “ABC World News” and “GMA” on Aug. 20 and 21 to talk about her personal and terrifying encounter with the 20-year shooter. She calmly explained how she managed to convince the gunman to put down his weapons and surrender to the police. Her selfless actions and calmness under extreme pressure saved countless lives.
Around 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 20, Michael Brandon Hill gained access into McNair Discovery Learning Academy, dressed in black and armed with an AK-47 and other guns. The gunman proceeded to the school office where he encountered Tuff. Hill told the clerk that he didn’t have a reason to live and knew that he was going to die. He then instructed Tuff to call local TV station WSB and alert it of the situation. She did just that and anxiously waited as Hill left the office and exchanged fire with police officers.
When Hill returned, Antoinette Tuff exhibited amazing grace under fire and started talking to the armed gunman. She said on “ABC World News” that she told Hill about losing her beloved husband. Tuff’s goal was to keep the shooter talking and to keep him away from the children. When Hill said than nobody loved him, Tuff said that she did. Finally, she was able to convince the gunman to put down his weapons, empty his pockets of bullets and lie face down on the floor in surrender. That’s how police officers found Hill when they entered the school office.
When asked how she was able to stay so calm throughout the ordeal, Tuff replied on “Good Morning America” that she was thinking about the safety of the students and wanted to make sure that no one was injured. “He was really a hurting young man, so I just started praying for him,” she stated on “ABC World News.” Tuff called the entire incident terrifying and added, “I knew at that moment, he was going to take my life along with his.” Despite that, her composure was miraculous, making Antoinette Tuff a real life super hero to parents across America. However, Antoinette doesn’t consider herself a hero at all. “I give it all to God. I’m not the hero,” she said on Tuesday night.
Since her TV appearances, people all over the country have been lighting up Twitter with heaps of praise and heartfelt thanks. Below are a few posts from Aug. 21.
- “Antoinette Tuff is a hero. Give this lady a medal.”
- “Thank you. You are a true hero.”
- “This woman, school clerk Antoinette Tuff, ‘talked down’ a man with an AK-47 who entered her school. Amazing!”
- “Antoinette Tuff is currently working as a school clerk, but someone should hire her to be a crisis negotiator.”
- “You can be scared and be a hero. Yesterday, you were scared & that school is blessed to have you.”
- "Wow. School clerk Antoinette Tuff talks down gunman in GA school! God bless her! Nobody killed. She is a hero in my eyes!"
According to WSB-TV in Atlanta, suspect Michael Brandon Hill is in police custody and facing charges of aggravated assault on a police officer, terrorist threats and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. His brother, Timothy Hill, told “GMA” on Wednesday, “I knew he was eventually going to do something stupid, but not at this magnitude.”
Classes resumed today, but at nearby McNair High School. Just as she does everyday, super hero Antoinette Tuff reported to work.
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