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Suspect in custody after school shooting incident at McNair Learning Academy in DeKalb County

4:46 PM, Aug 20, 2013   |    comments
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DECATUR, Ga. -- A spokesperson with DeKalb County Schools says a lone shooting suspect has been taken into custody after an incident at the Ronald McNair Discovery Learning Academy Tuesday afternoon.

DeKalb School spokesperson Quinn Hudson says all students have been accounted for, and that no injuries were reported.

DeKalb County Police said they responded to a call of shots fired at the Ronald McNair Discovery Learning Academy on 2nd Avenue in unincorporated DeKalb County.

Police said no one was hit by gunfire.

In a news conference, DeKalb County Police Chief Cedric Alexander said the suspect was a 19 years old white male, dressed in all black, and carrying an AK-47 assault rifle and other weapons. DeKalb County police said the suspect lives near the school. 

Alexander said the suspect was holding school staff members captive in the school's office.

Police Chief Alexander says the suspected stepped outside the school and fired shots at officers.  Officers fired back and the suspect dropped to the ground and surrendered.

A team from the US Marshal's Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force, along with officers from the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office, the DeKalb County Police Department, DeKalb County School Resource Officers and US Marshals from the Northern District of Georgia were all on scene.

After he was arrested, the suspect was turned over to the DeKalb County Police Department.  According to SERFTF supervisory inspector Jim Joyner, personnel from the task force joined in searching and securing the school.

Chief Alexander said that once the suspect's car was located near the front of the school, a K-9 unit "hit" on the car, noting the possible presence of explosives in the vehicle. 

At that point, law enforcement took the students from the field in the rear of the school away from the school building. They cut a hole in the fence surrounding the field to keep the students away from the vehicle and investigation at the front of the school.

County officials said there was no indication of any motive.

Students were bussed to a Walmart store at the corner of Gresham and Flat Shoals roads, near Interstate 20, to be reunited with their parents. 

Thurmond was working with crews from the Walmart to hand out water to parents waiting for buses there.

Buses began to arrive at the Walmart shortly after 4 p.m.

DeKalb County Assistant Police Chief Holmes says that the suspect was not injured before he was taken into custody.  Holmes says police are taking the suspect to police headquarters for interrogation.

Skycam images showed students running from the rear of building while SWAT team members and other police officers, with weapons drawn, were facing the front of the building.

DeKalb School spokesperson Quinn Hudson says when the suspect entered the school, he had demands to speak to a local television station.  Once reports of the suspect came in, the students were taken out of the rear of the building into a field behind the school.

The school is an elementary school in the Candler-McAfee area of unincorporated DeKalb County and part of the public school system in DeKalb County.


Michael King, WXIA

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