Modern day heroine Antoinette Tuff (pictured), the fearless woman who calmed an armed 20-year-old gunman inside the main office of her Atlanta-area elementary school, received a call from President Barack Obama on Thursday evening thanking her for her courage.
Obama referred to Hill as courageous and told her how she probably saved a lot of lives as a result of her heroic efforts. “Here is somebody who is not just courage, not just cool under pressure, but also had enough heart that somehow she could convince somebody that was really troubled that she cared about him,” Obama told CNN’s Chris Cuomo. “I think we might have to have her maybe make a visit to the White House,” Obama added.
He said that he listened to Tuff’s 911 call and read about how brave she acted when faced with such a perilous situation. “She was pretty cool, too,” Obama said of his telephone conversation with Tuff. “She was happy about it.”
Tuff said the call was “awesome.”
A school bookkeeper at Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur, Tuff prevented Michael Brandon, who has a history of mental illness, from unloading nearly 500 rounds of ammunition via his AK-47 style rifle within the facility that houses some 870 students from kindergarten through fifth grade.
She somehow managed to remain cool and persuaded Hill to surrender himself by calmly talking to the young man about her own struggles raising a disabled child and how her spouse of 33-years left her. She also reassured the would-be shooter that he didn’t hurt anyone, hadn’t harmed her, and could still surrender peacefully. Tuff also told Hill that she not only loves him but will pray for him too. Before he surrendered, Tuff took to the school’s public address system to say how sorry Hill was for what he’d done and how he hadn’t intended for anyone to get hurt, although the lockdown remained in effect.
The conversation between Tuff and the school intruder was captured on a recording of a 911 call made by school officials to dispatchers.
Watch Antoinette Tuff discuss her call with President Obama
Decatur authorities charged Hill with aggravated assault on a police officer, terroristic threats and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.