Armed Teen Takes Classmates Hostage, Later Releases Them Without Injury
CUMMING, Ga. (AP) _ An armed high school sophomore held nine classmates hostage for more than five hours Thursday, releasing some for candy and soda before growing dizzy and surrendering, officials said.
No one was injured during the hostage ordeal at the combined South Forsyth high school and middle school in Forsyth County, about 40 miles north of Atlanta.
Most of the school’s 1,200 students were evacuated, and hundreds of worried parents flocked to the campus as word of the incident spread. The episode began about 8:30 a.m., shortly after classes began.
Forsyth County Sheriff Wesley Walraven said the youth, identified as 10th- grader Randy Addis, carried a small duffel bag holding three weapons into the school, pulled out a rifle in Don Hutchins’ civics class and fired it over the students’ heads.
Johnny Tallant, who was teaching in the next room, struggled with Addis and got the rifle away from him, but not before another shot was fired, the sheriff said. Addis then ran, Hutchins tackled him and the youth pulled a shotgun from his bag, he said.
The youth, armed with the shotgun and a pistol, ordered Hutchins’ students into Tallant’s classroom and held both classes - about 40 students - at gunpoint, Walraven said.
Most of the students were released gradually during the morning, including all the girls but one, who chose to stay because she knew Addis, he said.
Some hostages were freed in exchange for candy and soda, said Joyce Shadburn, a spokeswoman for the county’s school superintendent. The only other demand was for a school bus, she said, adding that a bus had been taken to the scene.
Student Shelly Dixon said the boy told ″us to stand up and put our hands on our heads. He started cussing at us. He said if we said anything, he’d shoot us.″
Walraven said the youth demanded the bus to take him to Savannah and $3,000 cash.
About 1:45 p.m., Addis began to get dizzy and two of the hostages ran out, the sheriff said. Officers moved in to take his weapons and he did not resist.
″From our information, he was wearing down. He was starting to get dizzy. His reaction time was slow,″ said Walraven.
Addis was being held without bond at the Forsyth County Jail and was charged with kidnapping and weapons violations, officials said.
Seventh-grader Shawn Abercrombie, whose older brother was among the final hostages, described Addis as ″a quiet guy. He has problems and has seizures and takes pills for them.″
The youth had a seizure last week, Abercrombie said, and another student made fun of him. But police would not speculate on the reasons for the hostage-taking.