Shots Fired, Gunman Apprehended at DeKalb Elementary School

Michael Brandon Hill, 20, enters school and exchanges gunfire with police, but no one is injured at school located in a south unincorporated part of the county.

DeKalb County Police spokesperson Mekka Parish gives an update about three hours after Tuesday's shooting at McNair Discovery Learning Academy. Credit: Péralte Paul
DeKalb County Police spokesperson Mekka Parish gives an update about three hours after Tuesday's shooting at McNair Discovery Learning Academy. Credit: Péralte Paul
With the knowledge that each of the children at Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy had been safely reunited with a family member or guardian, and that a lone armed gunman who earlier had entered the school but was now in police custody, DeKalb County School District Interim Superintendent Michael Thurmond faced a hoard of media members late Tuesday afternoon and pronounced it "a blessed day.”

Blessed for no one was injured or killed in what had the makings to potentially be a horrific day during just the second school week in DeKalb.

Shortly after 1 p.m., a 20-year-old gunman managed to enter a front office at the elementary school and demanded a receptionist contact WSB TV so the news outlet could send a crew to come document and "start filming as police die."

Armed with an AK-47, other weapons, and possibly explosives, the suspect, Michael Brandon Hill, then exchange gunfire with police officers.

Hill briefly barricaded himself in an office with a couple of school personnel, but later peacefully surrendered to DeKalb County sheriff's deputies and U.S. Marshals inside the charter school that has approximately 820 students.

WSB TV reported that when being questioned by police officers, the suspect said, “I am sorry. I am off my meds.”

Hill, who will appear in a DeKalb County court on Wednesday morning, faces numerous charges including aggravated assault on a police officer, terroristic threats and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. 

Later, Hill’s car, parked about 100 feet from the front of the school, was sniffed out by a K-9 unit as possibly holding explosives. This led to a re-routed evacuation plan executed by school officials shortly after the gunman stormed the school. Escorted to an athletic field, some of the children were moved through a hole cut in the fence, while police and SWAT continued to search the school.

Parents were advised to pick up their children in the nearby Walmart parking lot located at I-20 and Gresham Road. At about 4 p.m., about threes hours after the shooting, the first buses of kids began to arrive to the relief of hundreds of emotional parents.

The school, which is located at 2162 Second Avenue in unincorporated south DeKalb County, will conduct classes on Wednesday. But it will do at McNair High School, which is on the same bus route as the elementary school and is located at 1804 Bouldercrest Road.

A nearby home on East Lilac Lane where Hill had been residing was later searched and evidence seized.

Check back for updates as this is a developing story.

Brett August 20, 2013 at 03:04 PM


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