• Father of Heritage HS victim calls shooter's release 'a huge mistake'

    By: Matt Johnson

    Updated:

    ROCKDALE COUNTY, Ga. - The man who plead guilty to shooting six students at Heritage High School in Rockdale County in 1999 is scheduled to be released from prison next week.

    TJ Solomon was 15 years old when he opened fire into a crowd of more than a hundred students at Heritage High School on May 20, 1999, a month after the deadly shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado. Six students were injured at the Conyers school and no one was killed.

    TJ Solomon was 15 years old when he opened fire into a crowd of more than a hundred students at Heritage High School on May 20, 1999.
    TJ Solomon was 15 years old when he opened fire into a crowd of more than a hundred students at Heritage High School on May 20, 1999.
    © 2019 Cox Media Group.

    On Tuesday, July 26, Solomon is expected to be released on parole three years early. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2000. His lawyers said he was mentally ill at the time.

    Richard Read is the Rockdale District Attorney who helped put Solomon in prison. He says he has concerns about Solomon's early release.

    "The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior," he told Channel 2's Matt Johnson. "Well, part of his past behavior is walking into a high school setting and shooting six kids."

    He had asked the judge for a 60-year sentence and feels that Solomon should serve the full sentence that was decided by the court.

    Michael Cheek is the father of a student, Jason, who was shot twice by Solomon. He says the state is making a "huge mistake" by releasing him early.

    "They know he is not mentally fit to be released into public society yet they choose to release him," Cheek said. "I wonder how many other states have released school shooters?"

    The State Board of Pardons and Paroles says that Solomon has shown signs of rehabilitation during his imprisonment. He will not be able to visit any Georgia schools as part of a condition of his parole. Solomon will also not be allowed to have any contact with any of his victims.


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    Some neighbors near the school still remember hearing the gunshots and the screams from students.

    "I knew it had to be bad," Sharon Mull said, fighting back tears. "People were hurt and they weren't killed, and I'm thankful for that."

    She hopes that Solomon has received the kind of mental health treatment that will prevent him from wanting to carry out a similar attack in the future.

    "Hopefully he got the help he needed and we pray that that doesn't happen again."

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