Man Holds School Board Hostage

Iran hostage

Florida school board members targeted by a vengeance-seeking gunman said Wednesday it was nothing short of a miracle that they survived the “surreal” attack. “It’s still surreal … still moving in slow motion through my head,” said Bay County school board member Ryan Neves at a press conference Wednesday morning. “If you’re not a believer in miracles, watch that tape again,” he added, referring to the video footage that was released after Tuesday’s shooting.“I think it’s safe to say that somebody was watching over the school board,” said Deputy Chief Robert S. Colbert of the Panama City Police Department when asked during an earlier briefing how unlikely it was that none of the gunman’s six targets were hit.

The shooter — identified as 56-year-old Clay Duke — barged into the Bay County school board meeting in Panama City, Fla., while it was in session Tuesday. He spoke briefly about his wife being fired, spray painted the letter “V” on the wall — apparently a reference to the movie “V For Vendetta” — then produced a handgun. Colbert said Duke’s wife had been terminated from the school board within the past year and that Duke had harbored “some lingering feelings” for Schools Superintendent Bill Husfelt, who was present during the meeting.

Husfelt told Fox News Channel on Wednesday that Duke dismissed the women and children from the room and took the remaining members hostage. “It was so surreal. I knew he was going to pull the trigger. I could see it in his eyes,” he said. “He’s standing as close to me as I am to this camera. It’s only by God’s grace that I’m able to sit here and talk to you now.” At one stage, Ginger Littleton, a fellow school board member, apparently hit Duke with her purse. Husfelt, who called Littleton a hero Wednesday, said he was sure she was going to be killed, but she managed to escape.

Littleton said that coming back to the scene of the crime Wednesday and seeing the bullet holes in the walls and some blood on the floor “made it very real.” Her sentiments were echoed by a fellow board member who said he “didn’t appreciate” how close he had been to the line of fire until he saw the bullet holes in the wall behind each of the board members’ chairs. Before Duke opened fire, Husfelt tried reasoning with the gunman, pleading with him not to shoot anyone and claiming to have been the one who dismissed his wife.

“I’m the one who signed the papers … let them go,” Husfelt said, referring to the other board members who were still in the room. “I don’t want anybody to get hurt. I’ve got the feeling that what you want is … you want the cops to come in and kill you because you are mad. Because you said you are going to die. But why? This isn’t worth it.”

Duke simply raised his gun and aimed straight at Husfelt. “Please don’t,” Husfelt said. “Please don’t.” The shooter calmly let off several rounds. Incredibly, he missed, and the board members fell to their knees behind their desk. At that point, the school’s security chief, Mike Jones, entered the room and exchanged shots with Duke, bringing him to the ground. Duke then shot himself in the head and was killed. Husfelt credited Jones with saving their lives and Colbert called him “the hero of the day.” Jones was hospitalized after his exchange of fire with Duke, but was due to be released Wednesday, Husfelt said. The board members said they were trying to get back to their normal lives after the shooting, though “It’s going to be hard to sleep,” Neves commented. “This is something that changes you for life.”

Husfelt said the school board would be cautious not to overreact to the incident. “We’re not gonna start arming every school and putting up barbed wire everywhere,” he said Wednesday. Panama City Police were still investigating the incident and a medical examiner was expected to perform an autopsy on Duke Wednesday. On his Facebook profile, Duke describes himself as a “Freedom Fighter” and a humanist. He goes on to deliver his own obituary, blaming the wealthy in America for his actions.

“My Testament: Some people (the government sponsored media) will say I was evil, a monster (V) … no … I was just born poor in a country where the Wealthy manipulate, use, abuse, and economically enslave 95% of the population.” He added, “Rich Republicans, Rich Democrats … same-same … rich … they take turns fleecing us … our few dollars … pyramiding the wealth for themselves. The 95% … the us, in US of A, are the neo slaves of the Global South. Our Masters, the Wealthy, do, as they like to us…” Duke was already known to the Florida authorities, having been sentenced to five years in custody in 2000 for aggravated stalking of a former girlfriend and shooting at her vehicle, according to the Panama City News Herald.

Young Boy Shot Outside His House


Philadelphia police responded to the scene of a shooting of a teenage boy. It happened around 4:50 p.m. along the 5300 block of Lesher Street. Reports say a 17-year-old was shot in the left hip shortly after he exited a home. He was rushed by police to Aria Hospital’s Frankford Division for treatment. His injuries were said to be critical.

Gas Station Shooting

Gas station shooting

A man is in stable condition, after getting shot in the neck during a robbery at a Philadelphia gas station. It happened at the Sunoco on the 3700 block of West Girard Avenue in the Mantua section late Wednesday night. Police say the suspect drove off in a green colored van, and remains on the loose.

Young Mother Innocent Victim of Gunbattle

A mother loading her 2-year-old son into an SUV was killed Tuesday and five others were wounded in a gunbattle at a strip mall in south Sacramento, authorities said. Two men were inside a barber shop just before 1 p.m. when two other men came in and started shooting, said Sacramento County Sheriff’s Sgt. Tim Curran. The men in the barber shop were armed and returned fire, Curran said.

The gunbattle apparently moved into the parking lot with at least one of the suspects getting into a white sedan. Curran said the gunfire continued as some of the suspects got away. A bullet struck the 30-year-old woman in the chest just after she put her son into the child seat of her Chevy Tahoe, Curran said. The woman was pronounced dead at the scene; the child was unhurt and has been placed under child protective services.

“We believe she’s a totally innocent victim,” Curran said.

Four of the five men injured in the gunbattle have been taken to local hospitals, including an unidentified man with life-threatening injuries who was shot in the chest, Curran said. A 37-year-old man, who was one of the barbers working inside the shop, was shot in the ankle. A 28-year-old man was shot in the shoulder and leg. Another man whose age was unknown suffered a leg wound. The fifth man, a 39-year-old male, suffered a grazing wound. Authorities have not released the identities. No charges have been filed.

“They are all being treated as victims. We do believe there’s a high probability that those we are with are suspects,” Curran said.

He said the strip mall in south Sacramento has been taped off and authorities have found multiple shell casings on the ground. The gunfire damaged several vehicles in the parking lot, including a Chinese restaurant across the street about 200 yards away.

Teens Carjack Lawyer – Man Dies

Car jacking

An 18-year-old Gary man was sentenced to six years on probation for carjacking a prominent Gary lawyer who died six months after the crime. Jerry Lee Tarver admitted he and co-defendant David Adam Watson, 17, carjacked Fred Work as he sat alone in his car on March 16. Court records indicate Work was sitting in his 2001 Lincoln listening to the radio in an alley behind his home when two males wearing masks walked up and ordered him out of his car at gunpoint. Tarver and Watson got into his car and took off after stealing his money and watch.

Tarver has agreed to cooperate in the prosecution of Watson, who appeared in court Monday for his initial hearing. Watson, who was 16 at the time, has pleaded not guilty. If Tarver fails his probation terms, which include that he obtain his GED, he will be sent to prison. The plea agreement, which was accepted by Lake Superior Court Judge Diane Ross Boswell last week, called for the dismissal of robbery and battery charges.

About five weeks after the carjacking, Watson was shot by Gary police Patrolman Terry Peck after he raised an AK-47 and ignored the officer’s commands to drop the weapon.

Watson was hospitalized in Indianapolis after the shooting. Work died Sept. 13 at age 75.