School guard who shot gunman: I thought I was too late
December 16th, 2010
06:01 PM ET

School guard who shot gunman: I thought I was too late

A security officer who wounded a gunman holding six Florida school officials hostage this week says he thought he intervened too late to save the district superintendent, who he thought had been killed moments beforehand.

When the gunbattle was over and the gunman had fatally shot himself, Mike Jones, chief of security for Bay District Schools in Panama City, was in for a surprise, he said Thursday.

"The next thing (that) happened was the superintendent came across the desk and (showed) that he was OK, and that’s when I lost it," Jones told reporters at a news conference.

Police and school officials have hailed Jones as a hero for shooting Clay Duke, 56, after Duke fired his gun Tuesday in the direction of Superintendent Bill Husfelt, who was seated behind a desk with five school board members in the board’s meeting room.

The incident began when Duke stood up during a public-comment portion of the school board's meeting, spray-painted a red "V" with a circle around it on the wall and brandished a handgun, police said. He ordered the room cleared except for Husfelt and the five male board members, and said he was upset that the district had fired his wife.

Jones, who was upstairs at the school district headquarters, got a call about the situation and went to the meeting room’s door, hoping to draw Duke’s attention.

"I tried to get this gentleman to come outside with me, to draw him away from the school board and the superintendent. That didn't work," he said.

Jones then closed the door and went outside to get ammunition from his vehicle. When he returned, he peeked into the room and saw Duke preparing to shoot. Video from a live internet feed provided by WJHG and WMBB shows Duke aiming at Husfelt and firing.

"I reached for the door, and it was too late – he fired the first shot at the superintendent, and I thought (Husfelt) was dead," Jones said Thursday. "And I just opened the door and (Duke) and I went at it."

Police said 14 bullets were fired between the two, with Duke hitting no one. Duke, wounded by Jones, eventually shot himself, police said.

Jones said he cried when he realized that Husfelt and the board members were OK.

"(I thought) that I lost the superintendent and I'd let him down," Jones said. "… But just to see him, it was like seeing a newborn baby for the first time. I'm not lying to you, and I just can’t get that out of my mind.

"That's the picture that I see the most. I don’t see the shots being fired, I don't see the bullets. I see (Husfelt) … coming from behind that desk. And I knew that it was OK."

On Wednesday, Husfelt told reporters that Jones "saved our lives."

"I'm telling you that (Duke) was not going to stop shooting. He only turned around after he'd been hit twice by Mike, and Mike and him got into the shooting barrage, and that's what saved our lives, because he had more ammunition and he was going to keep going," Husfelt said.

Jones expressed amazement that neither he nor the school officials were shot. However, Duke's widow, Rebecca Crowder-Duke, told CNN affiliate WJHG that Duke knew how to handle guns, and she proposed that he missed everyone on purpose.

See what else Jones had to say about the gunbattle.

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Filed under: Crime • Florida
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Dianne Paez

    The old lady that hit him with the purse is the real hero!!!! she should be awarded.

    December 16, 2010 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • yep

      ROFL!! Good one. ;)

      December 16, 2010 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
  2. John

    That was a weak and dangerous move on her part.

    December 16, 2010 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Thomas

    Agreed. Dangerous. Lots to be said for her for having the will to act, and it should be recognized, but seriously lucky to be alive. Still amazes me how this whole thing went down.

    December 16, 2010 at 11:21 pm | Report abuse |
  4. John

    Just more crap we have to worry about. You never know when your going to run into a nut case

    December 16, 2010 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
  5. hmmm...

    I am glad everyone from the school board are ok. I sure wish the shooter had taken a different route. Too many shootings, killings, kidnappings, too much toxins in the food, the air, and too much drugs easily available. We all need to go organic, yeah! We are all goings nuts, make sure it's organic nuts!

    December 17, 2010 at 12:32 am | Report abuse |
  6. Mark

    Very scary, it just goes to show you never know what will happen in life with crazy ass people who have guns.

    December 17, 2010 at 12:38 am | Report abuse |
  7. Theeresa

    Who goes back for thier purse?

    December 17, 2010 at 7:41 am | Report abuse |
  8. Ed Bailey

    Toxins in the air! Maybe he spent time in utah where the ruling class use enviromental laws for TP. Is his wife correct and this was a bizarre suicide by cop. I am very curious about the reason for the wife's termination and it was shady or political. I can't stand any of the self interest government actioms of this republican cesspool but these acts mon't solve a thing except to add you to their slimy society!

    December 17, 2010 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  9. Richard in Texas

    Thumbs up to the security guard for doing what he had to do and thumbs down to the women with the purse who aggrevated the situation with her actions.

    December 17, 2010 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  10. Amy

    We have taken away what a true "hero" is. Its not a guard at a school who is a ex cop, doing his "job", it'snot a police men running to a call, it's not a soilder doing "his job" in iraq. Those are all people doing what they have been trained to do, a job. It may sound alittle harsh but how many of us walk up to a teacher after a kid graduates and say " your a hero"? How many would call the teller at the local bank " a hero?"

    December 18, 2010 at 2:47 am | Report abuse |
    • AnonyVa

      Obviously the hero here is not your teacher, since you haven't learned how to spell "you're a hero."

      December 18, 2010 at 7:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Valleryy911

      Not to take away from the effects of Mr Jones actions, but, I agree (poor spelling aside) that he's not necessarily a hero. While I appreciate law enforcement officers (I'm a 911 dispatcher) and soldiers defending our country, they signed up for it. They've undertaken a noble profession for sure, but they are in fact, doing their job. They are simply responsible adults, just like the pizza delivery guy, the librarian, doctor, car salesman, mechanic and me. We made a choice to accept the responsibilities of our profession.

      I'm more inclined to hail the good Samaritan who pulls someone out of a burning house or car, or submerged vehicle as a hero. Those who have no vested interest, who take on responsibility for their fellow mans' wellbeing-those are the true heros.

      Have a great day everyone, and if you call 911, I'll be there for you ~(just doing my job) <3

      December 18, 2010 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
  11. Valleryy911

    mans' ??

    Obviously I'm no spelling hero!

    December 18, 2010 at 8:22 am | Report abuse |
  12. reach

    I am appalled that this woman was not just fired once, she was fired twice! Once from teaching 2nd grade (in February- how long did the kids suffer?) and once for not meeting the probationary terms of her second hire as a special education teacher (seriously, let's dump the bad teachers on the kids who already struggle, right?) As an educational administrator, I hope the people of Bay School system realize that that board was already heroic in getting rid of a teacher who wasn't good for the student. They weren't just being heroic in their actions against a threat, they were heroic in their actions against the threat's wife!

    December 19, 2010 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |