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Aug 21, 2013 09:05 AM EDT

Gunman Charged In Elementary School Shooting Incident

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Michael Brandon Hill, a 20-year-old man is facing felony charges for firing at least six shots from an assault rifle, Tuesday at the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in DeKalb County.

Cedric L. Alexander, DeKalb County Police Chief said that Hill fired from inside the school at officers before surrendering.

Hill is charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, terroristic threats and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Nearly 870 pre-kindergarten to fifth grade students were immediately evacuated from the elementary school upon reports of a gunman.

Alexander said that the gunman might have quietly walked in to the campus behind an employee because the school allows visitors inside the premises only after they have been cleared and buzzed in by staff.

The suspect, who had no connections to the school, couldn't go further than the school's main office, where he confined one or two employees for some time. Apparently, the culprit told a person inside the school that he didn't want to hurt anyone but wanted to talk to the police.

Antoinette Tuff, a school clerk said that she tried to convince the gunman to put down his weapons and ammunition.

"He told me he was sorry for what he was doing. He was willing to die," Tuff said.

Alexander said that Hill had an assault rifle and other weapons including an AK-47 and exchanged gunfire with officers.

"When we received the call and we engaged, he started to fire from inside the school at our officers. He had one or two of the staff members inside the main office. He was holding them captive," Alexander said.

Jonessia White, the mother of a kindergartner, said the school's doors are generally locked.

"I took (my son) to school this morning and had to be buzzed in," White said. "So I'm wondering how the guy got in the door."

Jackie Zamora, 61, of Decatur, has her 6-year-old grandson enrolled at the school. Zamora said that the institute has a set of double doors where visitors must show identification proof to a camera to be allowed in.

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