J. Michael Brown-ABC News

“Mike Jones is the hero in all this.” Bay District Schools Superintendent Bill Husfelt credits his man in charge of security with ending a frightening situation at Tuesday’s board meeting.

Jones fired the shots that felled Clay Allen Duke, the man who pulled a gun in the meeting chamber and began firing wildly while board members scrambled to safety. Jones was taken to Bay Medical Center after complaining of chest pains a short time later. A hospital spokesperson said Jones was in stable condition Tuesday night.

Jones spent 20 years with the Panama City Police Department, retiring as a detective in 1996. He served two terms on the School Board (1996-2004), made an unsuccessful bid for Bay County Sheriff – he lost in the primary to eventual winner Frank McKeithen – and has been in charge of the school district’s safety and security for nearly ten years. He is, in fact, the school district’s Police Chief.

Jones was summoned from his office on the fourth floor of the Nelson Building while the gunman threatened school officials. When Duke opened fire minutes later, it was Jones who fired the shots that brought the gunman down. As he lay on the floor, Duke turned the gun on himself and fired a single, fatal shot to the head.

Carl Woodall is Jones’ best friend and former partner on the police force. He said a lifetime of training kicked in.

“He did it by the book… he was successful… nobody else got hurt,” said Woodall. “He didn’t have time to wait for backup and he had the courage to take the first step.”

People have considered Jones a hero for more than a quarter century. As “Salvage Santa,” he refurbishes old bicycles and gives them to underprivileged children for Christmas.

“Inside that big teddy bear heart of his that hurts for hurting people is a man of steel and a man of great courage,” said Luther Stanford, Senior Pastor of Northside Baptist Church where Jones attends services. “I think Mike is an incredible example of a regular, everyday, ordinary person that God was able to use in an extraordinary way today.”

Woodall said Jones was a good policeman when they worked together and remains one today. “Mike’s always going to training, he’s always staying up with the latest techniques,” said Woodall. “He’s a good marksman and all that training paid off.”

Both Woodall and Stanford visited Jones and his family at the hospital after the shooting. “They’re very emotional as you can imagine,” said Stanford. “They’re trying to gather their thoughts but probably more so than anything they are just praising God for his protection and his intervention… it truly was a miracle.”

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