UK & World News
Georgia School Shooting: Clerk Thwarts Gunman
A clerk has said she stalled a gunman at an elementary school in Georgia, giving police time to intervene before he could make his way into packed classrooms.
Clerk Antoinette Tuff described how she watched the suspect enter the school.
Ms Tuff said she saw "a young man ready to kill anybody that he could and take any lives he wanted to".
When law enforcement officials arrived at the scene, she said, the suspect "went outside several times and shot at police officers".
He ordered Ms Tuff to call local television WSB-TV, and request that a camera crew record him "killing police", according to WSB.
"He told me he was sorry for what he was doing. He was willing to die," Ms Tuff recalled.
She said she initially sought to calm down the gunman, identified as 20-year-old Michael Brandon Hill, by asking his name, but he wouldn't give it to her.
At that point, she started telling him her life story.
"I told him, 'OK, we all have situations in our lives. I went through a tragedy myself,'" she said, telling him how her marriage had fallen apart after more than 30 years.
"It was going to be OK. If I could recover, he could too."
Then she asked Hill 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," Ms Tuff told ABC's World News with Diane Sawyer.
Hill has been apprehended, and nobody was hurt.
He was carrying an AK-47 and other weapons when he entered the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur, a few miles east of Atlanta, police officials said.
He may have slipped inside the secure school behind someone authorised to be there, officials said.
Hill, who had no clear ties to the school, never got past the front office, where he held one or two employees captive for a time.
As the standoff was going on, more than 800 students in pre-kindergarten to fifth grade were evacuated.
Television footage captured the young students racing out of the building, being escorted by teachers and police to safety.
The scene was reminiscent of shootings in American schools, including the massacre at Connecticut's Sandy Hook Elementary, where 20 first-graders and six teachers were killed in December.
Hill did not resist arrest. said Chief Cedric Alexander of the Dekalb Police. His motive remains unclear, and police were questioning Hill.
He is charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, terroristic threats and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.