Just Another Day

by - December 14, 2010

A gunman turns his pistol on himself after taking the male members of the Bay County school board hostage Tuesday afternoon.

That was the lead sentence of my lead story at 10:00.

This story broke just after 2:00 p.m. when 56-year-old Clay Duke walked to the podium, pulled out a pistol, released all the women from the room and took the men hostage. He was angry that his wife, whose position with the school system hasn't been released, had been fired and the man who signed the termination papers was at the meeting.

Using a can of red spray paint, Duke drew a large V inside a circle on the wall, much like the symbol for anarchy, and then told the members of the board, "Somebody is going to die today."

One of our sister stations, as well as other stations, had a reporter at this meeting so the entire incident was caught on tape. Below is video of the incident shot by WMBB out of Panama City followed by a clip from CNN finishing out the scene. The second clip is very graphic so if you have a weak stomach, please don't watch it.

I hope you noticed the would-be heroine. While her bravery is to be commended, the fact that Duke didn't shoot her point-blank is amazing.

For those of you that chose not to watch the second video, here's what happened. Once Duke fired the initial shots at the board members a security guard rushed into the room and exchanged shots with him, after which Duke turned the gun on himself.

Fortunately none of the board members were injured.

A tragic story with a somewhat happy ending, but combine it with all the other crime news we had and the political mumbo-jumbo, the first part of my show was pretty depressing. So I decided to liven things up a bit at the end by running a story about YouTube's top 10 videos of 2010.

So here for your viewing pleasure is the #1 video of 2010, straight from Alabama.

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  1. Terrifying! Settling a dispute with a loaded gun is far too common an m.o. Nowadays, with cameras aimed at us wherever we go, more hostage dramas, crimes, acts of terrorism, accidents and natural disasters are being caught on tape than ever before, and they're often televised live as they are happening. Such opportunities were not available to news gathering organizations decades ago when news footage had to be captured in the field, transported back to the station by vehicle, and run through the film processor for 30-45 minutes before it could be shown on the air.

  2. Welcome to what I refer to as Holiday Hell. Crazy stuff like this always happens around the holidays. People's stress levels are raised, and some people can't take anymore, and they snap. I feel sorry for all parties involved. I really do. Sometimes people just break, and I'm glad none of the hostages were hurt.

  3. They had the guy on Fox News today that Duke shot twice at and he said the gun was literally pointed right at him and he doesn't see how he didn't get hit at all.

  4. @Shady: We didn't take this live, however one of our sister stations didn't have time to watch the footage before they put it on the air and inadvertently showed the part of the video where the gunman was shot.

    @Christina: New information has come out regarding this incident. Apparently Mr. Duke was a "V for Vedetta" wannabe. Everyone thought the red V in the circle was a reference to that movie and evidence released today confirms it. He had all this anti-military paraphernalia, a bootleg DVD of the movie and a calendar with the same symbol written on yesterday's date. I guess he failed to remember the 5th of November...

    @Richard: Trust me, I know. The footage we have at the station is zoomed in. I thought he had hit the guy.

  5. The gunman turned out to be a graduate of a Tampa high school according to our local newscast.