Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Breaking News

Columns

August 28, 2013

House of Burgess: A good woman without a gun

Bookkeeper disarms would-be shooter with love

Whatever Antoinette Tuff is being paid by DeKalb County School District, it’s nowhere near enough. On Aug. 20, the Lithonia, Ga. bookkeeper single-handedly prevented what easily could have ended as a ghastly school shooting.

Whilst suspect Michael Brandon Hill brought “an AK 47-style rifle and packed up nearly 500 rounds of ammunition — enough to shoot more than half the school’s students,” according to CBS News, Tuff’s weapon of choice was love. That and above-average people skills.

The 24-minute-long 911 recording of the incident is a roller coaster. The whole drama unfolded within earshot of the receiver of Tuff’s phone. The call began with an earful of the half-dozen shots which were fired in the front office of the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy.

“He said to tell them to back off,” Tuff told the dispatcher. “He doesn’t want the kids. He wants the police. … He said he doesn’t care if he dies. He said he’s not mentally stable.”

I’ve worked in customer service before, and I’m here to tell you she’s a master. As soon as she finished discovering the issue, she began to establish common ground.

“I can help you,” Tuff said to her assailant. “Do you want me to talk to them? OK, but let’s see if we can work it out so you don’t have to go away with them for a long time. … No, it does matter. I can let them know you’re not trying to harm [us] or anything. … It’s all going to be well, and they’re going to talk to the police.”

She then made a school-wide announcement at the behest of her captor.

“He wants to let everybody know that he’s sorry,” she said into the intercom. “He does not want to harm anybody. Everybody stay in place.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • Rob Burgess House of Burgess: You've gotta keep 'em separated

    In my career as a journalist I have served my time reporting on city council, county supervisor and state regulatory meetings, to name just a few. Whatever else they might have been, they weren’t holy places. In the many, many hours I spent there I never felt the presence of anything that might be described as transcendent or spiritual.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • ANDREA NEAL: A committee of 10 picked Ind. capital Editor's note: This is one in a series of essays leading up to the celebration of the Indiana Bicentennial in December 2016. Anyone who's ever served on a committee can relate to the old laugh line: A committee is a group of people who keep minutes a

    April 23, 2014

  • MAUREEN HAYDEN: Judge in gay marriage decision is no activist When U.S. District Judge Richard Young recently ruled in favor of a lesbian couple seeking recognition of their out-of-state marriage, opponents of same-sex unions called him an activist judge who was unilaterally trampling the law. The label didn't

    April 22, 2014

  • TOM LoBIANCO: Turner ethics case tests bounds of 'citizen legislature' When a legislative ethics panel meets this week to review the case of House Speaker Pro Tem Eric Turner, members could have trouble finding clear-cut answers, in large part because of the Indiana General Assembly's status as a "citizen legislature."

    April 22, 2014

  • Cleaning up Indiana could be as easy as a bottle deposit Scan the roadside on a drive through the Wabash Valley, and you might spot an empty pop bottle or two. Or two dozen. Or 200. Drink bottles have become our litter du jour. They compose an estimated 40 to 60 percent of all litter, according to the Mich

    April 21, 2014

  • Wolfsie: High-tech got you down? I love where I bank. It’s a branch inside of a big supermarket. I can make a modest withdrawal and then go and blow every last penny in the cookie aisle. The tellers at the window appreciate me. They know about my obsession with round numbers and und

    April 21, 2014

  • Vasicek: Celebrating Easter I have shared a few bits of Easter humor over the years, so I thought I’d start with a new one. Joseph of Arimathea was the wealthy Pharisee who is famous for helping to bury the body of Jesus. He procured the body, asking Pilate’s permission, and, w

    April 20, 2014

  • DAY: God trusted us with them Well, you heard about my wife and I, and our families from the past, so it is time for me to tell you about two of the prettiest girls I have ever known. They are our daughters Debbie and Patty. They are the greatest gifts from God that we have had i

    April 19, 2014

  • LoBianco: Bigger ethics questions raised in House Turner review

    Members of the House Ethics Committee who will take up Rep. Eric Turner’s case face daunting tasks as they try to answer two questions: Did their powerful colleague violate any ethics rules in privately lobbying against a measure that would have hurt his family’s business?

    April 18, 2014

  • Hicks: Measuring the unmeasurable

    One aspect of economic research I think is especially powerful is the ability to measure or monetize the things that humans clearly value but for which a market price is not necessarily apparent. This is one of the aspects of economic analysis that gives it such dominance over other social sciences.

    April 17, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll
Kelly Lafferty's video on Tom Miller