Incredible 911 audio from Atlanta: bookkeeper Antoinette Tuff calms gunman

Several of my friends on Facebook shared this audio today, so I knew it must be worth a listen.

And, wow.

Bookkeeper Antoinette Tuff was in the office when Michael Brandon Hill entered Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Atlanta Decatur Tuesday. And then she ended up talking to him for about an hour, according to the AJC’s She faced down the suspect.

That headline suggests some sort of contest of wills between Hill and Tuff, but the audio itself gives a very different impression. Tuff identified with the intruder and even shared some tough moments in her own life — her husband leaving her, a subsequent suicide attempt, having a son with multiple handicaps.

As it becomes clear that Hill is ready to give himself up, she even offers to walk out of the school with him. Eventually, they decide that he will disarm himself and the police will enter.

There’s some dead air in the opening moments here, and if you don’t want to listen to the whole recording, skip ahead to the 13:30 minute mark.

Talk about grace under pressure. The audio is embedded via the AJC piece linked above:

It’s also worth noting the efficiency and calm of the 911 dispatcher, whose name I have not seen.