On "Anderson Cooper 360" on CNN tonight, Antoinette Tuff, the bookkeeper who talked down the alleged shooter at Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur, said she may have appeared calm on the surface but was terrified underneath. She said she prayed - a lot.
On Thursday, while preparing for the interview, she also received a phone call from Pres. Barack Obama, who thanked her for her courage. "It was awesome," she told Cooper.
Tuff downplayed being called a hero and said she was gratified nobody was hurt.
"Nothing I did was special. I felt like I helped someone in need," Tuff said, "that God was able to use me and it was honor to be used. I felt like I was int the right place. God needed me to be there to be the vessel for Him."
At one point, she said she felt sadness for him, especially since he said he was off his meds.
Tuff said she got to work late because of unspecified "devastating news."
The 911 call featured Tuff relaying information from the suspect Michael Brandon Hill to Kendra McCray, the dispatcher. It includes her interchange with Hill that helped calm him down, including empathetically talking about her own suicidal thoughts the previous year when her husband left her.
Tuff and McCray met for the first time on Cooper's show. They hugged and Tuff said, "We made it."