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President Obama thanks Tuff for preventing school massacre

Antoinette Tuff helped the country avoid a massacre by convincing a 20-year old gunman to lay down his assault rifle inside a Georgia elementary school Tuesday.
/ Source: Morning Joe

Antoinette Tuff helped the country avoid a massacre by convincing a 20-year old gunman to lay down his assault rifle inside a Georgia elementary school Tuesday.

A mother picks up her child after she was bused to a local Walmart following a shooting incident at McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur, Ga., on Aug. 20, 2013. (Photo by Tami Chappell/Reuters)

President Obama on Thursday called to thank the woman who persuaded a gunman inside a Georgia elementary school to lay down his high-powered rifle earlier this week, avoiding a tragedy similar to last year’s Newtown, Conn., shooting.

The president thanked Antoinette Tuff for her courage. She was trained to deal with situations involving trespassers.

Tuff, a school staffer who works in the front office at the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy near Atlanta, convinced 20-year-old gunman Michael Brandon Hill to put down his AK-47 style assault rifle. No one was injured Tuesday because Tuff calmed Hill down, offered him reassurance, and told him she loved him.

Watch: How Antoinette Tuff was trained to be a hero

Tuff acted as an intermediary between Hill and the police, telling officers not to enter the school during her 24-minute 911 call. She is credited with saving the lives of many children by stopping Hill.