NPR logo Stunning Videos: Gunman At Florida School Board Meeting


Stunning Videos: Gunman At Florida School Board Meeting

Image from WMBB-TV: A gunman, identified as Clay Duke, opens fire at a Panama City, Fla., school board meeting on Dec. 14, 2010. His shots didn't injure anyone. Duke was brought down by return fire from a security officer. Police say Duke then killed himself. hide caption

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The terrifying events at yesterday's school board meeting in Panama City, Fla., were captured from several angles by TV cameras in the room.

As we reported last evening, a gunman — later identified as 56-year-old Clay Duke — took over the meeting to air his grievance over the firing of his wife, who apparently had worked for the school district.

What you can now see is just how dramatic things became. Board members tried to talk Duke down. A woman, one of the board members, hit him with a purse in an unsuccessful attempt to knock the gun from his hand. Then, after Duke fired several shots, he was hit by fire from the school system's chief of security, Mike Jones. Moments later, police say, Duke killed himself with a shot to the head.

Many things are still unclear. On one of the videos, for example, you can hear a board member saying he thinks Duke was firing blanks — and wanted to be killed. But, police also say he fatally shot himself. And they tell the Panama City News Herald that there was live ammunition in Duke's gun.

School board member Ginger Littleton, who struck Duke with her purse, tells the Panama City News Herald that she did that because "it was either go for it now or live with the consequences, and I couldn’t live with the consequences." Duke had allowed her and other women in the room to leave. Littleton snuck back in to try to disarm the gunman.

Now, the videos.

We'll post two — one is less graphic than the other, but both are raw. This first one, from local WJHG-TV, shows Duke firing at the board members — but freezes the frame (while the sound continues) as he continues to fire and then is struck by the security officer's shots:

This second video report, from CNN, lets the scene unfold and includes the moments when Duke is brought down (but stops before he shoots himself):

Update at 11:30 a.m. ET. Members of the school board talked with reporters this morning. From the News Herald:

— "I don't think anything was going through my mind but these were sitting ducks, pigeons on a wire," Littleton said. "I couldn't leave them without trying to divert (Duke) ... or trying to buy some time until someone, or Mike Jones, bless his heart, could get there to help us."

— "If you'll watch the video, when Mike Jones (the district's chief of safety, security and police) comes in (Duke's) still shooting and getting ready to reach over and start shooting again," Schools Superintendent Bill Husfelt said. "Mike shoots him twice before he finally turns around and Mike, I'm telling, Mike saved our lives."