Obama phones Georgia school employee in hostage ordeal

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Antoinette Tuff, who has worked for the DeKalb County school district for eight years, became an overnight celebrity for her actions. Suspect Michael Brandon Hill entered the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy armed with the rifle and 500 rounds of ammunition, according to police. 

The president called Tuff Thursday afternoon while on the first day of his two-day bus tour through New York and Pennsylvania.

"This afternoon, the President called Antoinette Tuff to thank her for the courage she displayed while talking to a gunman who entered the school where she works earlier this week," the brief White House statement reads.

Tuff has been widely heralded for her words, recorded on a 911 call, that convinced Hill to turn himself in before anyone was injured.

"You gonna be okay," Tuff tells Hill on the call. "We're not gonna hate you."

She also told police that Hill said he was unable to get to his antipsychotic medication.

School principal Brian Bolden told CNN that Tuff's quick thinking prevented what might have been a serious tragedy.

"Her name, Antoinette Tuff, says everything about her," Bolden said. "Tough. She has always been that way from the first time I met her."

President Obama spoke about the tragedy of mass shootings in the aftermath of the Newtown, Conn., elementary school shooting late last year.

“As a country, we have been through this too many times. Whether it is an elementary school in Newtown, or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago, these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these children are our children,” he said. “And we’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.”

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