LITHONIA, Ga. —
Hill was arrested in mid-March for making terroristic threats in Henry County, DeKalb and Henry County sheriff's officials have said. He was sentenced to probation.
Tuesday's ordeal terrified parents.
Rufus Morrow was at work when he got a phone call with news that shots had been fired at the school his daughter attends.
He drove "about 90 mph" to the school. The police chief says Hill, armed with an assault rifle and other weapons, was able to slip into the school where visitors must be buzzed in by staff.
Morrow said he almost cried as he told his supervisor why he needed to leave.
"Just the mere thought of what happened at that other elementary school happening here, it was just devastating to my soul," he said, referring to the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Connecticut in December that left 26 people dead, 20 of them children.
The students attended class Wednesday at nearby McNair High School, which will be used for the time being.
Knotts was shocked when she realized Hill had been taken into custody.
"This is something that's totally out of his character. This is not him. This is not the Mike that I know. For anyone that knew Mike, this was a total devastation," she said in an interview at her home in Lithonia.
She kept in touch after he moved out and said he'd recently been living with another couple who belonged to the church. Knotts last saw Hill about a month ago and he seemed fine.
Knotts said Hill called her sister Tuesday afternoon before the shooting to thank the family for all they'd done for him and said he had a rifle. He didn't say what he was planning to do.
Knotts said she thinks Hill's actions were a plea for help.
"Unfortunately," she said, "he didn't know a better way to get it."
Associated Press writer Phillip Lucas in Atlanta contributed to this report.