Antoinette Tuff says her bout with depression and attempted suicide prepared her to empathize with the gunman that entered McNair Learning Academy on August 20, 2013.
ATLANTA -- It's been one year since Antoinette Tuff talked down a gunman in the lobby of the McNair Learning Academy. Today, Tuff is still working at the DeKalb County school and running her non-profit.
On August 20, 2013, Michael Brandon Hill walked into McNair Learning Academy with an assault rifle. Once inside, he held school employees hostage and fired at responding officers. They fired back and he eventually dropped his weapon.
One of those employees was Antoinette Tuff, the school bookkeeper.
On the 911 tape, she's heard talking Hill down: "We're not going to hate you. It's a good thing you're giving up, we're not going to hate you."
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Live on Atlanta Alive with Vinnie Politan Wednesday morning, Tuff reflected back on that day. When asked her stance on gun safety, she replied: "I'm not an expert on that. I can't tell you what to do, but I can tell you what I did in that moment. I prayed to God."
Tuff said she'd recently been through a divorce and an attempted suicide, so she felt a connection to Hill on that day last year. "I had tried to commit suicide myself, so I understood his pain. I pray for him everyday," she said.
She focused on the good that came out of that terrifying day. She started a Kids on the Move for Success. The school will be holding a community summit at 5:00 Wednesday at the school to recognize Tuff, along with the teachers and first responders that kept the school's 879 students safe.
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Tuff says the scholarships she's able to provide are a lasting effect of he heroism that day. "I can reunite with my babies and give children opportunities that they wouldn't have otherwise."
Tuff's book, "Prepared for a Purpose: The inspiring true story of how one woman saves an Atlanta school under siege" talks about her life leading up to that moment. She credits her faith in God for allowing her to empathize with Hill and help bring the lock down to a conclusion without any injuries.
By keeping calm, Antoinette Tuff saved hundreds of lives when a gunman stormed McNair Discovery Learning Academy. A year later, she reflects on the moment her life changed forever.