DeKalb County School Shooting: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

According to reports, a massive police response that included SWAT team members descended on the Ronald E McNair Discover Learning Academy Elementary School after a gunman was reported on the campus at around 1:00 p.m. on August 20. It’s reported that a lone gunman entered the school and opened fire, firing as many as six shots (though The Atlanta Journal-Constitution says only one shot was fired) and thankfully failing to hit anyone, reports CBS Atlanta.

Here’s what you need to know…

1. Michael Brandon Hill Has Been Identified at the Main Suspect

Decatur Georgia McNair Discovery Learning Academy Shooting Gunman

Michael Brandon Hill, 19, has been identified as the suspect.

Michael Brandon Hill was taken into custody at the school, he isreported by WSB-TV to have been armed AK-47, as well as other weapons, and is 19-years-old. He was dressed all in black.

With many parents asking how Hill, armed with an assault rifle, gained access to the building. Police are operating from the theory that he followed someone who had access to the school into the the building.

NBC Atlanta reports that upon the police’s arrival at the school the man fired one shot at an officer, the officer returned fire. Neither party was hit and the gunman surrendered almost immediately.

After being arrested Hill allegedly told cops: “I’m sorry. I’m off my meds.”

WSB Radio out of Atlanta have said that the man fired 30 shots in the school.


2. Bomb Squad Exploded a ‘Suspicious Device’ Found in the Man’s Car


DeKalb County Police Chief Cedric Alexander told reporters during a press conference that a police dog’s found explosives in the trunk of Hill’s car. A controlled explosion was carried out soon afterward.


A neighborhood nearby the school was evacuated at around 5:30 p.m. (local time) as the DeKalb bomb squad moved in.


The house was later given the all-clear after it was searched by a SWAT team.

3. The Gunman Wanted Local TV to ‘Film as Police Die’


11 Alive News is reporting that the gunman walked into the McNair Learning Academy demanding to speak with a local TV station.

According to WSB-TV Jovita Moore, Hill forced a school secretary, identified as Antoinette, to call their newsroom. While on the phone, the person who answered for WSB-TV reportedly heard gunfire.

While the school secretary was on the phone, the representative of WBS-TV, never spoke to Hill. The channel also reports that he relayed a message saying that WBS-TV should tell the police to “back-up.” Hill’s final chilling message that was relayed to WBS-TV informed them that he was “not afraid to die.”

Decatur Georgia McNair Discovery Learning Academy Shooting Gunman

Still photo from News Chopper 2, WSBTV.

4. All Students Were Quickly Accounted For


CNN’s Marlena Baldacci has said that all children had been accounted for not long after the man was taken into custody. Parents were advised to pick up their kids from the nearby WalMart parking lot.



The massive police operation was scaled down at 2:00 p.m. local time. At that stage the SWAT team had already vacated the scene.

Parents required ID to pick up their kids from the WalMart parking lot, the students were gradually released on a grade-by-grade basis. Reports from the ground indicated that parents became agitated with police due to the length of time it took for the children to be brought to the meeting point. Some parents also complained about the lack of transparency from officials when it came to letting parents know that their children were safe.

McNair Elementary School Decatur DeKalb County Kids Reunited Parents


5. 870 Students Are Enrolled in the School

According to WSB-TV in Georgia:

Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy, a charter school, is located on 2nd Avenue in Decatur.

McNair is reported to have 870 students enrolled. NBC Atlanta reports:

The school is an elementary charter school in the Candler-McAfee area of unincorporated DeKalb County.

The school is named after Ronald McNair, the astronaut who died during the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986.

Decatur Georgia McNair Discovery Learning Academy Shooting Gunman


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