by Michael King, WXIA-TV
DECATUR, Ga. - Authorities have identified 20-year-old Michael
Brandon Hill as the suspect in the shooting at the Ronald McNair
Discovery Learning Academy Tuesday afternoon.
According to DeKalb County Police, Hill will be charged
with Aggravated Assault on a Police Officer, Terroristic Threats and
Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.
DeKalb School spokesperson Quinn Hudson says all students were accounted for, and that no one was injuried.
Superintendent Michael Thurmond says classes will be held Wednesday
for McNair Academy students, at McNair High School. But he added,
absences will not be counted.
Late Tuesday afternoon SWAT members went into the home of the suspect.
DeKalb County Police said they responded to a call of shots fired at
the Ronald McNair Discovery Learning Academy on 2nd Avenue in
unincorporated DeKalb County.
In a news conference, DeKalb County Police Chief Cedric Alexander
said the suspect was a 19 years old white male, dressed in all black,
and carrying an AK-47 assault rifle and other weapons. DeKalb County
police said the suspect lives near the school.
Alexander said the suspect was holding school staff members captive in the school's office.
Police Chief Alexander says the suspect stepped outside the school
and fired multiple shots at officers. Officers fired back and the
suspect dropped to the ground and surrendered.
A team from the US Marshal's Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force,
along with officers from the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office, the DeKalb
County Police Department, DeKalb County School Resource Officers and US
Marshals from the Northern District of Georgia were all on scene.
After he was arrested, the suspect was turned over to the DeKalb
County Police Department. According to SERFTF supervisory inspector Jim
Joyner, personnel from the task force joined in searching and securing
Chief Alexander said that once the suspect's car was located near the
front of the school, a K-9 unit "hit" on the car, noting the possible
presence of explosives in the vehicle. A search of the car later found
Police officers took the students from the field in the rear of the
school away from the school building. They cut a hole in the fence
surrounding the field to keep the students away from the vehicle and
investigation at the front of the school.
County officials said there was no indication of any motive.
Students were bussed to a Walmart store at the corner of Gresham and
Flat Shoals roads, near Interstate 20, to be reunited with their
Thurmond was working with crews from the Walmart to hand out water to parents waiting for buses there.
Buses began to arrive at the Walmart shortly after 4 p.m.
DeKalb School spokesperson Quinn Hudson says when the suspect entered
the school, he had demands to speak to a local television station.
Once reports of the suspect came in, the students were taken out of the
rear of the building into a field behind the school.
US Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga. 5th) came to the Walmart where families were being reunited, and later issued a statement.
"I am deeply disturbed by the shooting at McNair Learning
Academy. As a society, we must find a way to deal with the fact that
there is too much violence on our city streets. Somehow and some way we
must convey the message to young and old that violence is not an
effective way to solve human problems. And when we come to that
understanding as a nation, this nightmare will end.
"Until that time, my thoughts and prayers are with those who have been
terrorized by this incident, even some children attending school for the
first time this August. The law enforcement officers of Dekalb County,
McNair Academy school personnel, Georgia Bureau of Investigation,
Georgia state troopers and all officials involved deserve our thanks and
highest praise for securing a very dangerous situation so that no child
or adult was physically injured. Their primary concern was for the
safety of the children, and they successfully protected them from
On Tuesday afternoon, Superintendent Michael Thurmond released a statement saying:
"All children are safe as well as the employees and staff of
Ronald McNair Discovery Learning Academy. I want to thank law
enforcement (FBI, GBI, DeKalb County Police, DeKalb County School System
Police, and the DeKalb Sheriff's Department) for their professional and
timely response to this crisis. Due to their efforts, a potentially
tragic outcome was avoided. I want to thank the parents who supported
the District and waited at Wal-Mart through this collaborative effort as
we worked to ensure that the safety of our students was paramount.
The District has taken measures to allow for Ronald McNair
Discovery Learning Academy to maintain its core business of teaching and
learning, and all classes for the students will continue at McNair High
School on Wednesday, August 21, 2013. Student transportation will
continue as normal to McNair High School located at 1804 Bouldercrest
Road, SE Atlanta 30316; however, any student unable to attend school
tomorrow will receive an excused absence. A crisis intervention team and
counselors will be on site to assist students and staff as needed."
The school is an elementary school in the Candler-McAfee area of
unincorporated DeKalb County and part of the public school system in