• Antoinette Tuff reflects 1 year after McNair shooting

    Updated:

    DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - Editor's note: This story was originally published August 20, 2014 on the one year anniversary of the incident.

    The woman who played a pivotal role in a school gunman incident is preparing to return to the scene where it all unfolded.

    One year ago today, a team of more than a dozen Channel 2 Action News reporters brought viewers live coverage as students evacuated McNair Discovery Learning Academy, in DeKalb County.
     
    Antoinette Tuff was a bookkeeper at McNair when a gunman stormed the campus. She remained calm under pressure and many credit her with preventing anyone from getting killed.

    “I knew that he was unstable and that he was willing to be able to kill us all," she said.
     
    A year later, Tuff still remembers it like it was yesterday. While working as a bookkeeper, she came face-to-face with the gunman in the front office.
     
    “When he came in and spoke, the first word out of his mouth, I started immediately praying, 'God, what do I do?’" she said.
     
    Tuff says her No. 1 priority was the children. She kept the gunman calm, talked to him and followed his demands to contact the news media by calling the WSB-TV assignment desk.
     
    Eventually, he surrendered peacefully.
     
    Channel 2’s Jovita Moore spoke exclusively with Tuff hours after the incident, and a lot has changed since then.
     
    "What seemed to be to go wrong, God allowed me to turn it to good. And so I just want my babies to be able to see how I turned [bad] into good and so that they can do the same," Tuff said.
     
    Tuff admits before her encounter with the gunman, she battled depression and suicidal thoughts. Since then, she's written a book, become a motivational speaker and created a foundation to raise scholarship money for students.
               
    Wednesday, Tuff will do even more for the students.

    She'll be at McNair Discovery Learning Academy to hand out scholarships. A foundation committee decides how much money each student receives. It’s based on the child's needs.
     

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