ATLANTA - The 20-year-old man who police say went to an Atlanta-area school heavily armed and exchanged gunfire with officers before surrendering was a normal kid growing up, but began to change as a teenager and engage in behaviour that was threatening to others, his brother said.
Tim Hill told CNN's Piers Morgan on Thursday that when he and Michael Brandon Hill were growing up, he was "like any other kid," playing outside and in the woods.
But, Tim Hill added, "Once he started hitting his teenage years, something happened with him. Everything just started changing after doctors started messing with his medicines here and there, and changing them up and putting him on a different one and institutionalizing him multiple times to correct his medicine. It just escalated from there."
No one was injured in the shooting Tuesday, but the suspect exchanged gunfire with police who surrounded the elementary school in Decatur, Georgia.
The school's 870 students were evacuated and terrified parents rushed to pick up their children. Some said they instantly thought of the massacre of 20 children and six educators at a Connecticut elementary school in December. That attack has dominated arguments over gun control in the U.S.
Police on Wednesday released an undated photo of Hill posing with an assault rifle that they believe is the one used at the school. Authorities said Hill got the gun from an acquaintance, but it's not clear if he stole it or had permission to take it. His motive is still unclear.
Tim Hill said Michael Hill set fire to the family's home when eight people were inside sleeping, though the fire was discovered before it spread. At another point their mother awoke to find him standing over her with a butcher's knife.
"My stepfather and mother ended up having to lock up ... like all the knives in the trunk of the car, just to protect everybody in the home," Tim Hill told Morgan.
Tim Hill also confirmed that his brother threatened his life on Facebook, prompting him to call police. He said he feared for his life.
The older brother's comments came two days after a school bookkeeper helped persuade Michael Hill to surrender to police following the frightening standoff and shooting at Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Decatur, a suburb east of Atlanta.
Police and school officials said that school bookkeeper Antoinette Tuff helped avert a tragedy after she was taken captive by Hill. He went to the school armed with an AK 47-style rifle and nearly 500 rounds of ammunition, police said.
Lines of young students raced out of the building with police and teachers escorting them to safety, recalling the chaotic scene last December outside a Connecticut elementary school.
Hill is charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, terroristic threats and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Police declined to discuss what he told them when questioned.
Tim Hill expressed frustration that authorities hadn't done more to deal with his brother's mental condition before Tuesday. He said he doesn't believe his brother would have harmed Tuff or the schoolchildren.
"I don't think he was there to do that," Tim Hill said of his brother. "He's always had a problem with the cops."
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