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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. 

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