The suspected gunman who terrorized an Atlanta-area elementary school, firing in the front office and at officers, was armed with an assault rifle and nearly 500 rounds of ammunition, police said today.
Michael Hill, 20, the lone suspect, allegedly entered Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur, Ga., Tuesday carrying an AK-47 assault rifle and several magazines and ammunition, said Chief Cedric Alexander of the DeKalb County, Ga., Police.
“He walked in with 498 rounds of ammunition. Fortunately, this came to an end quietly, without incident,” Alexander said at a news conference. “I think we can all make a reasonable assumption he came here to do some harm.”
Antoinette Tuff, the school bookkeeper who is credited with persuading the suspect to put his weapons down and surrender to police, was hailed as a hero today by Alexander.
“She was able to talk [the suspect] down,” Alexander said. “Had that not been the case, this certainly could turned into something really ugly.”
In newly released 911 audio, Tuff can be heard reasoning with the suspect and letting him know that everything was going to be fine.
“I can help you. You want me to talk to them? And try?” she asked. “Well, let me talk to them and try to work it out so that you don’t have to go away with them for a long time.”
Hill, according to Tuff, said he had no reason to live because nobody loved him.
“I just explained to him that I loved him,” Tuff told ABC News in an exclusive interview Tuesday night. “I didn’t know much about him. I didn’t know his name but I did love him and it was scary because I knew at that moment he was ready to take my life along with his, and if I didn’t say the right thing, then we all would be dead.”
The final moments of his surrender, when Tuff persuaded him to lay out his weapons and get on the floor, can be heard on the 911 tape.
“It’s going to be OK, sweetheart,” she said. “I just want you to know that I love you and I am proud of you. That’s a good thing that you are giving up. … We all go through something in life.”
Police, including U.S. marshals, entered the school and found the suspect in the office, where authorities said the standoff ended without incident.