ATLANTA, Ga — The man who injured six people after he opened fire inside a local high school in 1999 has been released from prison, three years earlier than his original sentence.
TJ Solomon was 15 years old when he used a .22 rifle to start shooting inside the school’s commons area just a month after the deadly Columbine High School shooting in Colorado.
A judge sentenced Solomon to 20 years in 2000 but he is being released early on parole.
The State Board of Pardons and Paroles says Solomon shows signs of rehabilitation during his imprisonment. He will not be able to visit any Georgia schools as part of a condition of his parole. Solomon will also not be allowed to have any contact with any of his victims.
Former assistant principal Cecil Brinkley says he had a handgun pointed at him, but convinced Solomon not to shoot him, hurt himself, or anyone else.
“Telling him each time to, ‘give me the gun, give me the gun’ and I finally got close enough to him, he did lower the barrel down and I took the gun from him,” Brinkley says. “I was holding the gun there and he did say in essence ‘I’m scared.'”
Richard Read is the Rockdale County District Attorney who helped put Solomon in prison. He says he has concerns about Solomon’s early release.
“The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior,” he says. “Well, part of his past behavior is walking into a high school setting and shooting six kids.”
He had asked the judge for a 60-year sentence and feels that Solomon should serve the full sentence that was decided by the court.