Suspect in Custody Following Reports of Gunfire at Ga. Elementary School

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Aug. 20 2013 2:00 PM

Suspect in Custody Following Reports of Gunfire at Ga. Elementary School

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Screenshot from the local NBC affiliate's live feed

The students are reportedly being transported to a designated location to be reunited with their parents.

Some rather terrifying news out of greater Atlanta today, where there were reports this afternoon of gunfire inside a DeKalb County elementary school that houses pre-schoolers through fifth graders. Let's get to the good news first: Officials at the scene say that there have been no reports of any injured students or staff.

The superintendent of the school system, Michael Thurmond, told the Associated Press that police have a suspect in custody. The students were evacuated from the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy, and Thurmond said that school officials conducted a head count to ensure all of the students were safe and accounted for. Parents have been told that they will be reunited with their children at a local Wal-Mart shortly.

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DeKalb County School Board Chairman Melvin Johnson told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that there had been reports of shots fired inside the building, although police have not yet confirmed that detail. The local NBC affiliate, meanwhile, reports that Thurmond told one of its reporters that there was an "exchange of gunfire" between the suspect and a police officer who responded to the scene. Thurmond did not say whether the exchange happened inside the building itself.

WSBTV, ABC's local affiliate, offers the most chilling report. A Channel 2 Action News assignment editor, Lacey LeCroy, reported that she was on the phone with a school office worker as the incident unfolded. That worker, according to LeCroy, said that the gunman wanted Channel 2 cameras there to "start filming as police die." LeCroy says she heard gunshots while on the phone.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City.