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Entries in Panama City (2)

Friday
Dec172010

Fla. School Security Officer Says He's No Hero for Stopping Gunman

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(PANAMA CITY, Fla.) -- Florida security officer Mike Jones has been called a hero for stopping a shooter at a school board meeting earlier this week, but he said he worried about what his community would think of him for shooting a man, even if he was armed and dangerous, in the back.

"The first time I shot him, he had his back to me...and I was like 'I'm going to jail,'" Jones said. "I've been an investigator for 20 years and then a policeman for 35 years altogether, and it still ran through my mind. I couldn't help it."

On Dec. 14, 56-year-old Clay Duke disrupted a school board meeting in Panama City, Fla., by proclaiming he had "a motion" and spray-painted a large "V" with a circle around it on the wall. Apparently intent on avenging his wife's 2008 firing, Duke aimed his weapon at the board members and fired several times, telling them he was planning to die that day.

Duke's first shot, which school Superintendent Bill Husfelt said was aimed directly at him from no more than 15 feet away, missed. That's when Jones burst into the room and began firing, shooting Duke in the back three times. When Duke hit the ground still firing, Jones hit the ground too, crawling behind the desks as gunfire erupted around him. By the time he crawled into a position to fire on Duke again, Jones said he saw Duke raise his gun to his own head and pull the trigger.

Jones spent the day after the incident with his pastor, seeking counsel on how to handle his feelings. He and his pastor came to one conclusion.

"There's only one answer for while we're alive, and that's by the grace of God," Jones said.

Duke's wife said Wednesday that Duke likely missed all the board members on purpose, but police contend his intent was to injure or kill.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Dec162010

Wife Says Fla. School Gunman Missed on Purpose, Cops Disagree

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(PANAMA CITY, Fla.) -- The wife of the man who opened fire on a Florida school board said he likely missed all the board members on purpose, but police Thursday contend there's no doubt his intent was to injure or kill.

"He didn't want anyone to get hurt but himself," Clay Duke's wife, Rebecca Duke, told reporters Wednesday. Rebecca Duke, who called 56-year-old Clay Duke a "gentle giant," said he was trying to stand up for her after she lost her job as a special education teacher in 2008.

"Basically...he loved me, he loved his family, and he was just trying to have people stop as he would say dump on me," she said.

But police aren't buying it and say that while Duke's motive may never fully be known, there's little doubt he went into that school board meeting Tuesday with anything but mayhem on his mind.

"I stick by my point that I believe Mr. Duke went there with a purpose and that purpose was to do harm and possibly kill other individuals," Panama City Police Deputy Chief Robert Colbert told Good Morning America. "I understand that that may be a part of the reasoning process for her [Rebecca Duke] that he went there to scare people, but I believe law enforcement is operating on the full notion that he went there to harm or kill superintendent [Bill] Husfelt."

Duke's wife said he was bipolar and took medication for mental health issues. Colbert said he could not specifically confirm Duke's condition, but mental issues "probably" played a part.

Police said Duke had planned the attack carefully, carrying two full clips of bullets. The date of the attack, Dec. 14, was circled in red on a calendar in Duke's home, investigators said. Before he was wounded by security officer Mike Jones, police said Duke fired 14 shots -- none of them hitting their targets.

Duke's first shot, which Husfelt said was aimed directly at him from no more than 15 feet away, somehow missed. After a few more wild shots, Duke exchanged several shots with Jones before he was wounded. He used his final shot to take his own life, police said.

Jones was taken to the hospital with chest pains after the shooting, but has since been released. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







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