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Georgia shooting suspect 'slipped through the cracks' of society, brother says

12:53 PM, Aug 21, 2013   |    comments
Michael Brandon Hill. Dekalb County Sheriff's Office / EPA
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Little is known about the suspect in Tuesday's Georgia elementary school shooting, but what has come to light paints a portrait of a troubled young man who once threatened to kill his own brother.

No one was hurt when Michael Brandon Hill, 20, entered Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur, Ga., with an AK-47 assault-style rifle and at least one other weapon. Authorities say Hill shot about six rounds at law enforcement who raced to the school before he surrendered peacefully when they returned fire.

It wasn't his first alleged encounter with Georgia officers.

In December, Hill "threatened to shoot" his brother, Timothy Hill, Timothy told NBC News.

The threat was on Dec. 30 or Dec. 31, just two weeks after the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., which left 26 people dead, 20 of whom were children.

A grand jury charged Hill in March with terroristic threats for the incident, to which Hill pleaded guilty. He received three years of probation and was ordered to be evaluated and treated for anger management. In addition, Timothy Hill said his brother was issued a no-contact order, and said the two have not talked recently.

Hill is "someone who slipped through the cracks," Timothy said, describing his brother as someone who started "having problems" at age 13.

"He had his good times, and then he had his bad times," Timothy said. "He was bipolar and suffered from ADD."

He didn't say whether Hill had been officially diagnosed with the conditions.

Hill shared a rental home in Decatur with a woman and her boyfriend and up to three other residents. The woman, who was not identified, told TODAY on Wednesday, "I've been having a rough time. I just pray for him."

Neighbors described Hill to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution as quiet and polite, and said he and the other residents moved into the house about a year ago. The residents sometimes threw small get-togethers in the wooded neighborhood but weren't loud, neighbors told the paper.

"I'm surprised," Francis Hall, who lives across the street from Hill, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "He's just an average guy."

The house is within walking distance of the the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy.

Hill is charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, making terroristic threats and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon for Tuesday's shooting. He was questioned for hours by police, but police have no clear idea of what may be a motive or whether Hill has ties to the school.

He waived his first appearance in DeKalb Magistrate Court Wednesday afternoon.

NBC News

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