A school board meeting ended in tragedy this week. Moments after a group of children had received awards, a 56-year-old man with a criminal record rose to his feet and ordered everyone but the male members of the Florida community’s school board to leave the room. He spray-painted a red V on the wall and spoke of tax increases and how the board had fired his wife.
The superintendent asked the assailant to let the other five men go, explaining that he would have been the one to sign the order to fire a staff member. The gunman refused. The superintendent remained calm as he tried to persuade the man to drop the gun. Board members told the gunman they would try to help his wife find a new job, but he “just shook his head.” The gunman mentioned at some point that he “was going to die” that day.
The only woman on the board had left, but she returned and approached the gunman from behind. When she hit the gunman’s gun arm with her handbag in an attempt to divert him, the man wheeled around and became angry. The woman fell to the floor, and the others watched in terror as the man aimed his gun at her head. He didn’t fire.
While the superintendent remained standing, the other board members had retreated under their large meeting table. When the gunman turned from the woman on the floor, he aimed at the superintendent and fired. He was approximately eight feet away. The superintendent later found two rounds in the wall behind him.
The security chief for the district is an ex-cop. When he ran into the room, he immediately shot at the gunman, wounding him. The gunman then turned the gun on himself and fired.
In the wake of the assault, authorities discovered the gunman’s FaceBook page. He had included rants against the wealthy establishment and cryptic messages that hinted at a violent plan. For his picture, he had used a red V — a symbol borrowed from the graphic novel and film ‘V for Vendetta.’ The story is about a mysterious figure at war with a totalitarian government.
Resource: Sun-Sentinel.com “School Chief Who Tried to Calm Fla. School Board Shooter in ‘Surreal’ Ordeal Says Faith Helped” 12/15/10