After spending an hour talking with Georgia elementary school gunman Brandon Hill, school clerk Antoinette Tuff was able to persuade him to put down his weapon.
Tuff is a school clerk at Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy.
She says she prayed for him, told her details of her life, and through building a rapport with him was able to convince Hill to surrender peacefully to police.
“He told me he was sorry for what he was doing. He was willing to die,” Tuff said.
The school clerk said she tried to keep the assailant calm by asking him his name but, she said, at first he wouldn’t tell it to her.
Then, he began listening to her tell her life story. She said she told him about how her marriage fell apart after 33 years and the “roller coaster” of opening her own business.
“I told him, ‘OK, we all have situations in our lives. I went through a tragedy myself,'” she said. “It was going to be OK. If I could recover, he could too.”
Then Tuff made the request that she said helped end the standoff. She said she asked the suspect to put his weapons down, empty his pockets and backpack and lay on the floor.
“I told the police he was giving himself up. I just talked him through it,” she said.
There are simply no words to express the magnitude of Antoinette Tuff’s actions.
In the midst of a nightmarish situation, her poise and patience saved countless young lives.
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