Former classmate 'disgusted' by school shooter's early release

Former classmate 'disgusted' Heritage High School gunman released early

ROCKDALE COUNTY, Ga. — The teenage gunman

in 1999 will be released from custody Tuesday.

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A former classmate of TJ Solomon who was just a few yards from him when he opened fire spoke out Monday.

"I looked around and saw people just hitting the floor, so I did the same thing. We were just waiting for it to end, which took what seemed like forever,” Ashley Stephenson said.

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Solomon pulled a .22 rifle in the school’s Commons area on May 20, 1999. The attack came one month after the massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado.

"We were lucky that nobody was killed in ours, but the trauma... and I don't think traumatizing describes it. It doesn't even cover it,” Stephenson said.

Stephenson said she is disgusted by Solomon’s early release from custody.

He pleaded not guilty but mentally ill to aggravated assault charges.

Stephenson said  the crime haunts her to this day.

"When you're going through life, and then all of a sudden a balloon pops behind you, normal people-- that probably wouldn't bother them. But to me, it's a fight or flight reaction. It just brings it all back. When most people would just walk on about their day, I'm sitting there shaking and scared to move, because that's how it has affected me,” Stephenson said. %

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