Minister of alleged McNair Academy gunman speaks - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Minister of alleged McNair Academy gunman speaks


A woman who knows the man accused of opening fire at McNair Discovery Learning Academy is praising the school worker who called 911.

Minister Natasha Knotts told CBS Atlanta News that her heart is now with church member 21-year-old Michael Brandon Hill.

She hopes he's OK.

"He is not the monster that people think he is," said Knotts.

CBS Atlanta News obtained a copy of the 911 call made by school office worker Antoinette Tuff.

Dispatch: "Okay. Stay on the line with me, ma'am. Where are you?"

Tuff: "I'm in the front office (shot fired) Ooh! He just went outside and started shooting. (shot fired) Ooh, can I run?"

That caller didn't run. She stayed and talked the gunman into turning himself in.

Tuff remained calm and composed. She connected with the man holding the gun.

Tuff: "You want me to try? I can help you. I can let them know that you didn't harm me."

Tuff told the operator that Hill agreed to put down all his weapons and that he had one request.

Tuff: "He wants me to go on the intercom and let everybody know he's sorry. OK?"

Knotts told CBS Atlanta News that Hill's desire to apologize sends a clear message that he never really intended to hurt anyone at the school.

"Flabbergasted. No words can explain, because I fell like I'm his mother because his mother is deceased," said Knotts.

Knotts and her family took to Hill after he nearly died in an apartment fire.

She believes if he had been taking his medication, things would have been different.

"My heart goes out to the parents, of course, and everyone that was in the response efforts. My heart is still with him and not knowing now even how he's doing," said Knotts.

Knotts said she is grateful for the school worker who was calm under pressure.

After police entered to school and took the suspect into custody, Tuff breathed a sigh of relief.

Tuff: "I'm going to tell you something, baby. I ain't never been so scared in all the days of my life."

Dispatch: "Me neither. You did great."

Tuff: "Ooh! Jesus."

Dispatch: "You did great."

Knotts said she has reached out to Hill and was told she that will be allowed to visit him in the DeKalb County Jail on Friday.

Copyright 2013 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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