Georgia man sentenced to 20 years in 2013 school shooting

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 16, 2014 4:34 PM

By David Beasley

ATLANTA (Reuters) - A man who fired an AK-47 in a suburban Atlanta elementary school in 2013 before a school clerk convinced him to put his gun down and turn himself in pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Tuesday.

Michael Brandon Hill, 21, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and other charges and received a 40-year sentence, half of which he will be able to serve on probation, his attorney said.

Hill, who had long suffered from mental illness, was trying to commit suicide by prompting police to shoot him, said Annie Deets, his attorney.

“He had been crying out for help for years,” she said. “He never really got the kind of help he needed.”

No one was hurt in the August 2013 incident, despite Hill having fired at police officers outside the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy before firing off an additional round in the school office.

Inside the building, Hill encountered school clerk Antoinette Tuff, who struck up a conversation with him and urged him not to go through with his plan.

Hill recounted to her that he felt hopeless and that he had gone off his medication, she has said.

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In the course of their discussion, Tuff persuaded Hill to surrender to authorities.

Had he stood trial and lost, Hill faced a possible 125-year sentence, his attorney said.

In prison, he will be evaluated for treatment of his mental health problems, said Roderick Wilkerson, DeKalb County deputy chief assistant district attorney.

(Editing by Jonathan Kaminsky and Eric Walsh)