CONYERS, Ga. — It was a day that no one has forgotten. Saturday marked the 20th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting in Colorado.
In the somber day, crowds gathered to remember the 15 students and one teacher killed when two teenage gunmen opened fire on the campus. Twenty others were also injured in the mass shooting.
Only a month after the tragedy, Georgia would face its own tragedy in Rockdale County where a student opened fire on his classmates. T.J. Solomon entered Heritage High School in Rockdale County with a pistol and a rifle shooting six classmates - though none were fatally injured. Prosecutors said he was fixated on the Columbine shooting. It was ultimately his assistant principal, Cecil Brinkley, who disarmed him.
"I took off down the hallway and met him out there and told him he needed to give me the gun and stop the shooting," Brinkley said in a 2016 interview. "So, he lowered the gun down and hand it to me."
Solomon was released from prison in 2016 after serving 17 years - and after shootings at Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook.
It's no surprise that, in the time since the Columbine shooting, security has become a major focus at schools across the country to help keep students safe.
"In the amended budget for 2019, I have included $69 million in one-time funds for school security grants," Gov. Brian Kemp said.
Kemp has promised the state's nearly 2,300 public schools about $30,000 each to implement school security priorities.
The Keeping Georgia Schools Safe Act Bill was sent to Governor Kemp's desk last week. It would require schools to prepare a safety plan, require drills based off of those plans and establish a task force.