Man Opens Fire at School Board Meeting

A routine school board meeting in Panama City, Florida turned terrifying when a man pulled out a gun and started shooting. INSIDE EDITION has the story.

A routine school board meeting turned into a terrifying nightmare.

The school board meeting in Panama City, Florida, was being broadcast live on public access TV, when a man who'd been sitting alone in the audience stood up and began spray painting a red "V" symbol from the 2006 movie V for Vendetta on the wall.

Superintendent Bill Husfelt realized the horror that was about to unfold was very real.

"He shocked all of us, we didn't know what was going on and nobody said a word, and then he turned around with a gun in his hand," he said.

The gunman, identified as 56-year-old Clay Duke, began selecting who could go and who must stay.

"Six men stay, everyone else leaves," he said.

Even though she could have gotten away, school board member Ginger Littleton, in a display of courage winning praise across America, snuck up behind the gunman and clobbered him with her purse.

He knocked her down, but for some reason he let her live. Then superintendent pleaded with Clay Duke to let everyone go.

Husfelt: "Will you let them go? I mean, but you're obviously upset at me. So why are they here?
Duke: "They're part of it."
Husfelt: "Part of what?"
Duke: "The scam."

Moments later the superintendent made one final attempt to reason with the gunman.

Husfelt: "I don't want anybody to get hurt and I've got a feeling that what you want is the cops to come in and kill you because you're mad, because you say you're going to die today."
Duke: "I'm going to die today."
Husfelt: "But why?"

Suddenly Husfelt found himself pleading for his life as Duke raised the gun and aimed it.

Husfelt: "Please don't. Please don't. Please..."

The gunman opened fire. Just then, the school's security chief, Mike Jones, rushed into the room, and shot him down. The gunman fired more shots into the air as he lay on the ground, then killed himself with a shot to the head.

Miraculously no one else was hurt, even though the gunman was only eight feet away when he opened fire.

"You've seen the video, how did he not hit me with those bullets as close as he was?  He was as close to me as that camera," says Husfelt.

At first, Superintendent Husfelt didn't think the bullets were real, telling Jones he had "caps," but police determined the gun was loaded with real bullets.

By the time a SWAT team arrived, it was all over.

In 1999, Clay Duke served a prison term for stalking his ex-wife.  

On his Facebook page, which he created just weeks prior to the incident, he calls himself a "Freedom Fighter", and writes a rambling final testament:

"Some people...will say I was evil, a monster."

On his page is the same "V" symbol.