Claremore Daily Progress

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August 20, 2013

Officials: Ga. school suspect fired assault rifle

DECATUR, Ga. —

A teen was in custody Tuesday, accused of firing shots from an assault rifle at an Atlanta-area elementary school where dramatic television footage showed young students racing out of the building, being escorted by teachers and police to safety. No one was injured.
The 800 or so students in pre-kindergarten to fifth grade were evacuated from Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur, a few miles east of Atlanta. They sat outside in a field for a time until school buses came to take them to their waiting parents and other relatives at a nearby Wal-Mart. When the first bus arrived a couple hours later, cheers erupted in the store parking lot.
The suspect, a 19-year-old man with no clear ties to the school, fired at least a half-dozen shots with an assault rifle from inside the school and officers returned fire when the man was alone and they had a clear shot, DeKalb County Police Chief Cedric L. Alexander said at a news conference.
Though the school has a system where people must be buzzed in, the gunman slipped inside behind someone authorized to be there, Alexander said. The suspect, whose identity was not released, never got past the front office, where he held one or two employees captive for a time, and was being questioned at the police department, Alexander said. No charges had yet been filed.
A woman in the school office called WSB-TV as it was happening to say the gunman asked her to contact the Atlanta station and police. WSB said during the call, shots were heard in the background. Assignment editor Lacey Lecroy said she spoke with the woman who said she was alone with the man and his gun was visible.
“It didn’t take long to know that this woman was serious,” Lecroy said. “Shots were one of the last things I heard. I was so worried for her.”

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