Decatur, Ga. – A man with an assault rifle and other weapons exchanged gunfire with officers Tuesday at an Atlanta-area elementary school before surrendering, a police chief said, with dramatic overhead television footage capturing the young students racing out of the building, being escorted by teachers and police to safety. No one was injured.
Just a week into the new school year, more than 800 students in pre-kindergarten to fifth grade were evacuated from Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur, a few miles east of Atlanta. They sat outside along a fence in a field for a time until school buses came to take them to their waiting parents and other relatives at a nearby Wal-Mart.
When the first bus arrived about three hours after the shooting, cheers erupted in the store parking lot from relieved relatives, several of them sobbing.
The suspect, identified later as 20-year-old Michael Brandon Hill, fired at least a half-dozen shots from the rifle from inside McNair at officers who were swarming the campus outside, the chief said. DeKalb County Police Chief Cedric Alexander said Hill surrendered shortly after and several weapons were found, though it wasn’t clear how many. Police were unsure of Hill’s motive.
Officials cleared in Benghazi failure
Washington – Four State Department officials have been cleared of security failures that led to an attack last year on a diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, authorities said Tuesday.
State spokeswoman Marie Harf said the officials, who held senior positions at the Bureau of Diplomatic Security and the Bureau of Near East Affairs during the Sept. 11, 2012, attack, will be reassigned to new jobs.
She said an internal State review concluded “there was no breach of duty” by any of the four, who have been on paid administrative leave for months.
The State Department is not investigating any other employees. But the Benghazi attack has been under intense scrutiny by some House Republicans who have suggested the Obama administration is trying to cover up the circumstances and aftermath of the attack that left Stevens and three other Americans dead.
A review in December by the independent Benghazi Accountability Review Board described a security vacuum in Libya after rebel forces toppled the decades-long regime of strongman Moammar Gadhafi. It singled out the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security and the Bureau of Near East Affairs for lacking cooperation and being confused over protection at the diplomatic post in Benghazi.