Antoinette Tuff feared the worst when she encountered the gunman carrying an AK-47 assault rifle and other weapons in her school office.
She told reporters, “I saw a young man ready to kill anybody that he could.”
Thankfully, there were no injuries or deaths in the gunman incident at Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy, a 5-year old school named for an astronaut who died aboard Challenger, the space shuttle that exploded after takeoff in 1986.
This is mainly thanks to Tuff, a school clerk who spent about an hour calmly persuading the gunman, Michael Brandon Hill, 20, to put his rifle down and surrender. “I was terrified, but I give it all to God” said Antoinette.
She told ABC’s Diane Sawyer that much of her conversation focused not only on trying to understand the gunman, but also on trying to get the gunman to relate to her.
I just started telling him stories,” she said, and things like, “You don’t have to die today.”
Tuff told him a story of tragedy in her own life, and explained to reporters that she simply asked him to put his weapons down and surrender to police. She “talked him through it” by reminding him that “life will still bring about turns, but we can learn from it.”
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