School clerk recounts shooting at Georgia school: Antoinette Tuff convinces gunman to surrender
Michael Brandon Hill arrested by police
Last Updated: 113 days ago
ATLANTA - ABC News spoke with a school clerk who says she was the one who talked down a gunman who allegedly terrorized an Atlanta-area school.
Antoinette Tuff told ABC News that she convinced 20-year-old Michael Brandon Hill to empty his pockets and backpack of ammunition and to get down on the floor so police could take him into custody.
Although the motive behind the incident is still unclear, police say that Hill entered the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy armed with an assault rifle and barricaded himself in the front office. He allegedly fired at police officers outside.
During the standoff, Hill ordered staffers to call a local television channel, ABC affiliate WSB-TV, to request that a camera crew record him "killing police," WSB reported.
"He said he was going to end his life and take all the cops and everybody with him … He had a look on him that he was willing to kill and matter of fact he said it," Tuff told ABC News. "He said he didn't have any reason to live and that he knew he was going to die ...."
Tuff also said he apologized for what he was doing.
The school clerk said she tried to keep the assailant calm by asking him his name but, she said, at first he wouldn't tell it to her.
Then, he began listening to her tell her life story. She said she told him about how her marriage fell apart after 33 years and the "roller coaster" of opening her own business.
"I told him, 'OK, we all have situations in our lives. I went through a tragedy myself,'" she said. "It was going to be OK. If I could recover, he could too."
Then Tuff made the request that she said helped end the standoff. She said she asked the suspect to put his weapons down, empty his pockets and backpack and lay on the floor.
"I told the police he was giving himself up. I just talked him through it," she said.
Despite her efforts, Tuff said she's not the hero.
"I give it all to God," she said. "I'm not the hero. I was terrified."
Sources told ABC News Hill had recently been arrested for alleged terroristic threats and acts.
About 800 students were evacuated from the school. No one was injured.
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