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Fla. School Board Shooting Video: Clay Duke Ignored Pleas, Opened Fire

Clay Duke (CBS/Florida Dept. of Corrections)

Fla. School Board Shooter Ignored Pleas
Clay Duke (CBS/Florida Dept. of Corrections)

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (CBS/AP) Clay Duke, the gunman who fired point-blank at school board members before fatally shooting himself, had for much of the meeting sat with the rest of the audience, listening to routine business.

As the board was in the midst of a discussion Tuesday, Duke walked to the front of the room, spray painted a red "V" with a circle around it on the white wall, then turned and waved a handgun. He calmly ordered everyone to "hit the road" except the men on the board sitting behind a long beige desk.

Despite his shock, Bay City Schools Superintendent Bill Husfelt mustered a calm voice and tried to persuade Duke to drop the gun, but the 56-year-old ex-convict just shook his head, blaming officials for his wife being fired. Video showed him slowly raising the gun and leveling it at Husfelt, who pleaded "Please don't, please don't."

Duke left a foreboding message on his Facebook account: "Some people (the government sponsored media) will say I was evil, a monster."

Duke shot twice at Husfelt from about 8 feet away and squeezed off several more rounds before security guard Mike Jones bolted in and, after exchanging gunfire with Duke, wounded him in the leg or side. Duke then fatally shot himself, police Sgt. Jeff Becker said. Somehow, no one else who remained in the small board room was injured in the clash that lasted several minutes, and Husfelt said at least two rounds lodged in the wall behind him.

Before the shooting started, the only woman on the five-member board - who had left the room as ordered - came back, sneaked up behind Duke and whacked his gun arm with her large, brown purse.

Duke, a large, heavyset man dressed in a dark pullover coat, got angry, turned around, and she fell to the floor, as board members pleaded with her to stop. Duke pointed the gun at her head and said, "You stupid b--" but he didn't shoot her, she said.

In his brief exchange with the board, Duke said his wife had been fired from the northern Florida district, but never told Husfelt or the board who she was or her job. Members promised to help her find a new job, but Duke just shook his head.

Tommye Lou Richardson, the school district's personnel director, who was at the meeting, called district security chief and former police officer Jones a hero. In the video, as Duke lay on the floor, colleagues comforted a shaken Jones, who said he had never shot anyone before.

As for the V inside a circle that Duke painted, it's the same symbol used in the graphic novel series and movie "V for Vendetta," though police didn't talk about his motive.

After everything stopped, some board members speculated that the bullets Duke was firing were fake or caps. But police say the gun was real - and the video shows papers flying up on Husfelt's desk.

  • Edecio Martinez

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