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911 call discusses school gunman’s mental health

LITHONIA, Ga. — A woman whose family once took in the suspect in an Atlanta-area school shooting said Wednesday that he was mentally ill but never violent in the past.

Natasha Knotts said that Michael Brandon Hill lived with her and her husband for several months in his late teens. She says she served as a mother figure after Hill started coming to the small church where she and her husband are pastors.

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Also on Wednesday, police gave more details about the previous day’s ordeal and what led to it. Before going to the school, Hill took a photo of himself with an AK 47-style rifle and packed up nearly 500 rounds of ammunition, enough to shoot more than half the students, investigators said.

Police said Hill, 20, got the gun from an acquaintance, but it was not clear if he stole it or had permission to take it.

No one was injured, but the suspect exchanged gunfire with police who surrounded Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur. The 870 students were evacuated.

“He was part of our family,” Knotts said of the roughly six months that Hill stayed with them several years ago. Her family was aware that “he had a mental disorder,” but she said he was loving and quiet and never displayed anger.

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