Video: School board shooting hero 'just doing a job'

  1. Transcript of: School board shooting hero 'just doing a job'

    WILLIAMS: Good evening.

    BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: As we said when we first showed you the pictures, the videotape of what happened at that school board meeting in Panama City , Florida , is hard to watch and it's not for everyone, a disturbed man firing shots wildly at his fellow citizens. And again, thankfully, none of them hurt thanks in large part to a retired police officer who was on the job that afternoon working security, armed with a weapon of his own and also years of experience on the job as a patrolman and detective. He took down the gunman, who later took his own life . But the extraordinary actions of a seemingly ordinary man that day named Mike Jones were matched today by his astounding modesty and humanity. And we begin tonight with his account of what happened, in his own words.

    Mr. MIKE JONES: One of our finance people called me on my cell phone and said, ' Mike , there's a man in the board room with a gun.' I was on the fourth floor. I took the stairs down and I done a peek-a-boo into the room the first time to see what was going on, drew the guy's attention to me. I was hoping to get him to come to me, to come out of the building, and he didn't fall for that.

    Mr. DUKE: Leave!

    Mr. JONES: I went to my vehicle, got my vest and some extra ammo, because I knew it was serious, I knew that he had a real gun. I came back to that door and I was peeking through the crack of the door, and when I saw his back and he squared up with both hands, I knew the fight was fixing to happen. I reached for the door and it was too late, he fired the first shot at the superintendent, and I thought he was dead. And I just opened the door and he and I went at it. Man, he wouldn't go down, and then started shooting at the board members again. So I kept shooting, but he was moving a lot. Then he fell, and then his arm came up. I could see his arm, he was still shooting at me. When I got to the aisle, I actually saw him laying there, and I thought he was already dead. And then I saw him pull the gun up to his head. When the superintendent came up from behind that counter, it was like seeing your first born child. I was like, 'Oh my God, he's alive,' and I just started crying. When a law enforcement officers strap that badge on, that's what they're supposed to do. But, you know, it still, it hurts very deeply that a human life was taken. And I just want to let the Duke family know that my heart goes out to you. He was somebody's son and somebody's father, and maybe even a grandfather, I don't know. But my heart goes out to that family.

    WILLIAMS: A lot of people are alive tonight thanks to that man, retired police officer and currently school security officer Mike Jones of Panama City , Florida , tonight. His own account of what happened there. We'll put his full statement today on our Web site tonight.

Image: Clay Duke
In this image taken from video and released by WJHG-TV, Clay A. Duke points a hand gun at Bay City school board members and staff on Tuesday. staff and news service reports
updated 12/16/2010 2:00:54 PM ET 2010-12-16T19:00:54

The Florida security guard who confronted a gunman during a school board meeting said Thursday that he was "no hero" and wasn't thinking about bullets or dying.

His biggest fear, he said, was that he had let down his superintendent.

"I saw that first shot and I knew the superintendent fell backward," Mike Jones said during a press conference on Thursday. "I thought he'd killed him, that I'd let him down."

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Jones, a 20-year police veteran, calmly, and at times tearfully, described the events leading up to Clay Duke taking his own life after firing at several school board members. Authorities said Duke, 56, was distraught that his wife had been fired by the school district earlier this year.

Jones said he was supposed to be on vacation but instead was at the building to be available to answer some security questions during the meeting.

"I’m not a hero folks," Jones said, adding, "I wasn't in this building five minutes and I was in a gun fight. It happened that quick."

Duke, an ex-con, fired repeatedly at board members, missing them by inches, then killed himself after exchanging gunfire with Jones. "He pulled the gun to his head and pulled the trigger," Jones said. 

Board members, who dove for cover, were not hurt.

"When the superintendent came up from behind that counter ... Just to see him (the superintendent) it was like seeing a newborn baby for the first time," Jones said.

The retired detective said he wants to forget the showdown that resulted in Duke's death and get back to his charitable efforts. Jones is well known in Panama City as "Salvage Santa" for his work providing Christmas gifts for needy children.

"My heart goes out to them (the Dukes) and I can't even imagine what their Christmas will be like," he said.'s Sevil Omer and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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