Officials: Ga. school suspect had assault rifle

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013

DECATUR, Ga. (AP) -- A police chief says the suspect in a Georgia elementary school shooting fired from inside the school and officers returned fire.

DeKalb County Police Chief Cedric L. Alexander said at a news conference that the gunman who had an assault rifle was able to get into Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur Tuesday by following behind someone who was authorized to be there.

Alexander says the 19-year-old suspect is being questioned.

The chief also says officers believed the suspect had explosives in the trunk of his car so they cut a hole in a fence to man sure students running from the building could get even farther away.

DeKalb County Schools Superintendent Michael Thurmond praised faculty and authorities who got the young students to safety, saying it is a "blessed day, all our children are safe."

Initial report:

DECATUR, Ga. (AP) -- The superintendent of DeKalb County schools says police have a suspect in custody after reports of a gunman at an Atlanta-area elementary school.

Superintendent Michael Thurmond says all students at Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur east of Atlanta are accounted for and safe Tuesday and that he is not aware of any injuries.

Television footage showed students being evacuated from the school and sitting outside in a field. Buses are being brought in to take children to their parents at a nearby Wal-Mart.

Police are gathered at the school. Thurmond says the suspect is an adult man.

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-school to fifth grade.

Calls to DeKalb County police were not immediately returned.

(Copyright 2013, The Associated Press)


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