Image: Clay Duke, Ginger Littleton
NBC News
Ginger Littleton, right, attempts to disarm Clay Duke with her purse during a school board meeting.
NBC, and news services
updated 12/23/2010 1:16:51 PM ET 2010-12-23T18:16:51

The purse used by a Florida school board member to smack a gunman has raised more than $26,000 for charity.

Ginger Littleton, of Panama City, was ordered out the room by gunman Clay Duke, but risked her life in an attempt to stop her colleagues on the board from being killed.

She sneaked back into the room and hit Duke's gun hand with the brown handbag , but failed to dislodge the weapon and fell to the ground.

Duke did not shoot her but later opened fire on male members of the board, before taking his own life after a shoot out with a security guard.

Video: School board heroes: ‘Happy to be alive’ (on this page)

In a press conference after the incident, Littleton jokingly began to auction the purse to journalists for $50.

But, instead, she decided to sell it for charity on eBay and it went for $13,100 late Wednesday night.

Shortly after the sale, NBC station WJHG received a statement from the handbag's maker, Brahmin, saying the firm would would match that bid.

That means the charity founded by Mike Jones, the security guard who shot and wounded Duke before he killed himself, will get a total of $26,200 from the sale. The purse is from the discontinued Almond Collection and originally sold for $345.

Meanwhile, Duke's widow said she still doesn't know what triggered the shooting.

Rebecca Duke told CBS' "The Early Show" that she'll spend the rest of her life wondering what made her husband shoot at the school board members.

In the interview broadcast Thursday, she remembered her husband as gentle and compassionate man who had a good sense of humor.

Video: Tough times of school-board shooter (on this page)

She also said she felt for the people at the school board meeting.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Video: In moment of crisis, heroes emerge

  1. Transcript of: In moment of crisis, heroes emerge

    BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: Now to a story that started to break late yesterday. It was a perfectly routine school board meeting in a Florida community. On the agenda, what

    parents talk about in schools: head lice and new computers. Then a man rose to speak and nothing about him looked right. He was armed with a can of spray paint and an automatic handgun. But it's what happened next that was an extraordinary reaction by some people at this otherwise ordinary meeting. We should warn you, this videotape will be tough to watch for some, especially for young ones in the room. Our report tonight from NBC 's Mark Potter in Panama City , Florida .

    MARK POTTER reporting: When an ordinary school board meeting suddenly became terrifying, with a gunman threatening to kill...

    Mr. CLAY DUKE: Leave! You may leave, you may leave.

    Offscreen Voice #1: Dean, he told you to leave.

    Mr. DUKE: The women can leave. Six men, stay.

    POTTER: ...ordinary public officials suddenly became heroes. Most dramatic was board member Ginger Littleton , who attacked the intruder with her purse.

    Offscreen Voice #2: No. No, Ginge ! Ginger , no.

    Ms. GINGER LITTLETON (School Board Member): I knew at some point that things were going to turn out very badly, and they were going to turn out very badly for people whom I value and who are of great value to this community. And so I wasn't willing to just let nature take its course.

    POTTER: Now Littleton and her purse are the talk of the town .

    Mr. FRANKLIN HARRISON (School Board Attorney): I don't know about that Ginger woman, but I want her in my foxhole.

    POTTER: Another hailed as a hero is Superintendent Bill Husfelt . When 56-year-old Clay Duke said he was angry his wife had been fired from teaching, Husfelt urged Duke to keep him as the lone hostage.

    Mr. BILL HUSFELT: Let them go. I'm the one that did it. They don't sign the papers. I'm the only one that signs it. Will you let them go? He had that in his eyes, he was going to kill. And I just did not want him to kill all of us. Please don't.

    POTTER: Soon, though, it all unraveled and Duke opened fire.

    Mr. HUSFELT: Please. Oh.

    Mr. DUKE: I'm going to kill....

    POTTER: And that brought the biggest hero of all.

    Mr. HUSFELT: I'm telling you, Mike saved our lives.

    POTTER: Mike Jones , the school security chief and former cop. He heard shots, burst into the room and wounded Duke , who then took his own life .

    Ms. LITTLETON: His timing was impeccable. His aim was impeccable.

    POTTER: As a result, and hard to believe, no one else in those desperate moments was even injured. Mark Potter , NBC News, Panama City , Florida .

Data: Listen to the 911 call


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