magnum handgun. He proceeded to saw the stock off of the .22 rifle and hide the discarded butt under a nearby couch. T.J. showered and dressed in baggy blue jeans and a loose fitting white t-shirt. He concealed the rifle inside his pants by securing it to his leg with a leather strap and placed the handgun in his book bag. At 7:45 a.m., T.J. left the house for school and boarded the school bus.

Remarkably, several of the other students who were on the bus that day reported to law enforcement officials that they had not seen anything unusual about T.J. One, however, later reported he had noticed T.J. limp a little as he boarded the bus. No one realized that he had two firearms in his possession. T.J. sat at the back of the bus and kept to himself.

At a little before 8:00 a.m., T.J. arrived at Heritage High School and proceeded toward the rear door of the school’s commons area (see Figure 2-2). On his approach, T.J. left his book bag near some woods just behind the school and continued toward the rear entrance. One student witnessed T.J. kneeling by his book bag. In an interview after the incident, T.J. recounts, “When I got to school I was walking up there. I didn’t even

FIGURE 2-2 Heritage High School commons area.

SOURCE: Diagram adapted from Rockdale County district attorney’s files.

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