LITHONIA, Ga. —
"He had a look on him that he was willing to kill — matter of fact, he said it. He said that he didn't have any reason to live and that he knew he was going to die today," Tuff said.
Law enforcement officers on Wednesday praised Tuff for helping to avert a tragedy.
"She was a real ally. She was a real hero in all of this. She just did a stellar job. She was cool, she was calm, very collected in all of this, maintained her wherewithal," Alexander, the police chief, said.
Tuff relayed messages from Hill to DeKalb County emergency dispatchers before convincing him to surrender. She told the dispatcher that Hill said he wasn't there to hurt the children but wanted to talk to an unarmed officer.
"He said, 'Call the probation office in DeKalb County and let them know what's going on,'" Tuff said on a 911 recording that was released Wednesday. "He said he should have just went to the mental hospital instead of doing this, because he's not on his medication."
Tuff began telling Hill of her own struggles, including raising a disabled child and losing her husband.
Tuff reassured him by saying he didn't hurt anyone, hadn't harmed her and could still surrender peacefully.
"We're not gonna hate you baby. It's a good thing that you're giving up," Tuff said after having Hill put his weapons and ammunition on the counter. Tuff told Hill that she loved him and would pray for him.
Before he surrendered, Tuff took to the school's public address system saying that Hill was sorry for what he'd done and didn't want to hurt anyone — although the lockdown remained in effect.