Earlier this week, Antoinette Tuff made the most terrifying phone call of her life when a gunman stormed the Georgia elementary school she works in.
And on Thursday, she was handed the phone again – but this time it was probably the most surprising call of her life.
President Obama phoned Tuff on Thursday to thank her for preventing a shooting at Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy earlier this week. She calmly talked to gunman Michael Brandon Hill for nearly an hour while she relayed his messages to a 911 dispatcher on the other end. He was armed with an AK-47, told Tuff he had no reason to live, and intended to use the weapon to kill students.
The White House released this statement following the incident:
This afternoon, the President called Antoinette Tuff to thank her for the courage she displayed while talking to a gunman who entered the school where she works earlier this week.
And President Obama said that he plans to invite Tuff to visit the White House to celebrate her bravery and selflessness.
During an exclusive interview with CNN “New Day” anchor Chris Cuomo that airs Friday, Obama said what Tuff did was “remarkable” and something that “probably saved a lot of lives, including the life of the potential perpetrator.”
“Here is somebody who is not just courage, not just cool under pressure, but also had enough heart that somehow she could convince somebody that was really troubled that she cared about him,” Obama said.
The president continued: “I think we might have to have her maybe make a visit to the White House.”
Thursday continued to be a remarkable day for Tuff when, during her appearance on the Anderson Cooper show, she was reunited with 911 dispatcher Kendra McCray, who helped keep her calm during the terrifying ordeal.
“I was terrified inside,” Tuff admitted. McCray confessed that she, too, “was terrified, coming on that line and hearing those gun shots… my hands were shaking so bad.”
McCray said that Tuff is “a true hero.”
Watch their reunion below:
And if you haven’t heard the 911 call the world is talking about, click here.