UPDATED ON 6: Suspect In Custody After Gunshots Reportedly Heard - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

UPDATED ON 6: Suspect In Custody After Gunshots Reportedly Heard At Atlanta-Area School

Posted: Updated:
Photo of the scene of the evacuation of an Atlanta-area elementary school after a reported shooting in the school (Credit: WSB-TV) Photo of the scene of the evacuation of an Atlanta-area elementary school after a reported shooting in the school (Credit: WSB-TV)
Decatur, GA -

 

***UPDATED AT 4:00 P.M. on Tuesday, August 20th***

A suspect was in custody after gunfire erupted at an Atlanta-area elementary school where dramatic television footage showed young students racing out of the building, being escorted by teachers and police. No one was injured and all students and teachers were accounted for and safe, authorities said.

Television footage showed students being evacuated from Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur, a few miles east of Atlanta, and sitting outside in a field about 1:30 p.m. School buses were taking the children to their waiting parents and relatives at a nearby Wal-Mart.

According to WSB-TV's website, a woman in the school office called to say a gunman asked her to contact the Atlanta station and police. WSB said during the call, shots were heard in the background.

Numerous police were at the school and SWAT was there for a time. The suspect is a man in his mid-20s and didn't have an obvious connection to the school, DeKalb County schools Superintendent Michael Thurmond told The Associated Press. He and police said all students and teachers came out safely.

WSB-TV assignment editor Lacey Lecroy said she spoke with the woman in the school's front office who told the station she was alone with the suspect and the man's gun was visible.

"It didn't take long to know that this woman was serious," Lecroy said. "Shots were one of the last things I heard. I was so worried for her."

Jonessia White, the mother of a kindergartner at the school, told AP she talked to her son's teacher shortly after most students were evacuated. White said the teacher told her they were still inside the building shortly after 2 p.m.

"When I hear he's safely out of the building, I'll be OK," White said, adding that she learned of the shooting when a friend called to say helicopters were hovering over the school.

DeKalb County Police Department spokeswoman Mekka Parish said, "We're just trying to calm the nerves of parents."

Police had strung yellow tape up blocking intersections near the school while children waited to be taken to Wal-Mart where hundreds of people were waiting.

Regional superintendent Rachel Zeigler used a megaphone to say children would be loaded onto buses by grade level and that each bus would also be carrying an administrator, a teacher and a Georgia Bureau of Investigation officer. School officials urged families to send one representative to retrieve children to avoid a bottleneck. Officials said relatives would be required to sign each child out and have their photo taken.

The school has about 870 children enrolled. The academy is named after McNair, an astronaut who died when the space shuttle Challenger exploded on Jan. 28, 1986, according to the school's website.

White said the school's doors are normally locked.

"I took (my son) to school this morning and had to be buzzed in," she said. "So I'm wondering how the guy got in the door." She said before what happened Tuesday, she thought of the school as safe and was satisfied with its procedures.

To view live video and photos from the scene from WSB-TV, click here.

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***UPDATED AT 2:47 P.M. on Tuesday, August 20th***

A suspect was in custody after reports of gunfire at an Atlanta-area elementary school Tuesday, the school chief said, with television footage showing young students running out the school being escorted by teachers and police. Michael Thurmond told The Associated Press he had no reports of injuries and that all students and teachers are accounted for and safe.

Television footage showed students being evacuated from Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur, a few miles east of Atlanta, and sitting outside in a field about 1:30 p.m. School buses were being brought in to take children to their parents at a nearby Wal-Mart.

According to WSB-TV's website, a woman in the school office called to say a gunman asked her to contact the Atlanta station and police. WSB said during the call, shots could be heard in the background.

Numerous police are at the school and SWAT was there for a time. Thurmond said the suspect is a man in his mid-20s and didn't have an obvious connection to the school.

DeKalb County School Board Chairman Melvin Johnson told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (http://bit.ly/16t14iF) there were reports of shots being fired inside the building that houses students from pre-kindergarten to fifth grade.

"We're in the process of reuniting the children with their parents," said Mekka Parish, spokeswoman for the DeKalb County Police Department. "We're just trying to calm the nerves of parents."

Jonessia White, the mother of a kindergartner at the school, told AP she talked to her son's teacher shortly after most students were evacuated. White said the teacher told her they were still inside the building shortly after 2 p.m.

"When I hear he's safely out of the building, I'll be OK," White said, adding that she learned of the shooting when a friend called to say helicopters were hovering over the school.

Police had strung yellow tape up blocking intersections near the school while children waited to be taken to Wal-Mart.

The school has about 870 children enrolled. The academy is named after McNair, an astronaut who died when the space shuttle Challenger exploded on Jan. 28, 1986, according to the school's website.

To view live video and photos from the scene from WSB-TV, click here.

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***UPDATED at 2:05 P.M. on Tuesday, August 20th***

The superintendent of DeKalb County schools says police have a suspect in custody after reports of gunfire at an Atlanta-area elementary school.

Michael Thurmond tells The Associated Press that school officials are doing a head count to ensure all students at Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy are safe Tuesday.

Television footage shows students had been evacuated from the school and were sitting outside in a field. Buses are being brought in to take children away from the school.

Thurmond says he is not aware of any injuries.

Police are gathered at the school.

DeKalb County School Board Chairman Melvin Johnson told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution there were reports of shots being fired inside the building that houses students from pre-school to fifth grade.

A call to DeKalb County police was not immediately returned.

To view live video and photos from the scene from WSB-TV, click here.

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***POSTED at 1:52 P.M. on Tuesday, August 20th***

Authorities in DeKalb County are responding to a report of an active shooter at an elementary school.

Television footage from local outlets showed that students had been evacuated from Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy and were sitting outside in a field Tuesday afternoon.

DeKalb County School Board Chairman Melvin Johnson told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution there were reports of shots being fired inside the building.

Information on whether anyone was injured was not immediately available. A call to DeKalb County police was not immediately returned.

To view live video and photos from the scene from WSB-TV, click here.

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