Atlanta School Shooter ‘A Young Man Ready to Kill Anybody’

ABC News Nightline
Nightline FixAugust 21, 2013

They are images no parent wants to see, and they're frighteningly familiar. Desperate teachers at the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy outside Atlanta rushing the young children, single file, away from danger.

And inside the elementary school -- a young man with a gun, on the loose.

It was only the second week of school when this all-too-familiar scene unfolded. Sources tell ABC News that the alleged gunman is 20-year-old Michael Brandon Hill from the Atlanta area. He entered the school around 1:30 p.m., carrying an AK-47 and a number of other weapons.

Hill was recently arrested for alleged "terroristic threats and acts." His connection to the school is unclear.

The alleged gunman approached the front office and held the staff captive. Chief Cedric Alexander of the DeKalb Police suspected Hill came in behind someone that was authorized to be there.

In a bizarre twist, the gunman asked a receptionist to call WSB, the local ABC affiliate station.

“At first we thought he was playing, then he told us that he was not playing,” said Antoinette Tuff, the school's bookkeeper, in an exclusive interview with Diane Sawyer. “This was not a joke. That this was for real.”

Lacey Lecroy, WSB’s assignment editor, received the call from Tuff.

“I asked (Antoinette) why he wanted Channel 2 to come and she said he wants you to start filming as police officers die,” said Lecroy. “And I knew then she was completely serious.”

When the police arrived, the gunman fired at the officers. They fired back, shattering a glass window at the entrance of the school.

But eventually Tuff was able to convince Hill to drop the gun, asking “him to put all of his weapons down.

“And then I told the police he was giving himself up and I just talked him through it,” continued Tuff.

No one was injured and the alleged shooter surrendered. He was taken into custody.

Family members waited for hours at the local Walmart to be reunited with their children.

The incident was a scene eerily reminiscent of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting last December in Newtown, Conn., where 26 were killed, including 20 children between the ages of 6 and 7.

There have been at least eight cases where shooters have been on school campuses since that time.