Courage Under Fire: Hero Bookkeeper Confronts School Gunman

. . .In the office, Hill came face-to-face with Antoinette Tuff, the school’s bookkeeper, who said she was the one who eventually convinced him to empty his pockets and backpack of ammunition and to get down on the floor so police could apprehend him.

Hill, according to Tuff, said he had no reason to live because nobody loved him.

“And I just explained to him that I loved him,” Tuff told ABC News in an exclusive interview Tuesday night. “I didn’t know much about him. I didn’t know his name but I did love him and it was scary because I knew at that moment he was ready to take my life along with his, and if I didn’t say the right thing, then we all would be dead.”

A man with the same name and age was arrested five months ago in McDonough, Ga., according to online records and court records. He entered a negotiated plea July 16 and was sentenced to three years’ probation and anger management.

During the standoff, Tuff said the suspected gunman “went outside several times and shot at police officers.”

He also allegedly ordered staffers to call a local television channel, ABC affiliate WSB-TV, to request that a camera crew record him “killing police,” WSB reported.

“He said that he didn’t have any reason to live and that he was going to die today,” Tuff said. “He was going to end his life and take all of the cops and everybody with him.”

Tuff 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 knew at that time it was bigger than me,” she said. “He was really a hurting young man, so I just started praying for him. And just started talking to him and allowing him to know everything that was going on with me and that everything was going to be OK.”. . .

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