Ginger Littleton and her purse make news headlines around world

By: Erica Rakow Email
By: Erica Rakow Email

Panama City -- An act of extreme courage played out on national TV, as School Board Member Ginger Littleton snuck up up from behind an armed gunman, and hit him with her purse.

She was trying to disarm him, and divert the situation but in reality, she could have been killed.

Ginger says there's no way to explain her emotions besides she thought she was going to die. She says her thought process was that if she did live, she wouldn't be able to live with herself knowing she didn't try to do something. And the former chairwoman and only female member of the Bay County School Board did do something. Now, that act is making headlines all over the world.

"I did have a plan which was to whack him with my purse, but I didn't have a plan B. I don't know why he didn't kill me at that moment. I really don't," said Ginger Littleton.

When Clay Duke pulled out a gun and ordered the room cleared of everyone but the 6 men behind the bench Tuesday afternoon, Ginger Littleton complied. But then she thought again.

"I went towards the door, and then something said 'turn back around, let's check things out.' And at that point I realized he had moved onto the desk, standing there, looking down at the seated board members, on their level, and had the gun down to his side - on his right hand side - and at that moment, it was, 'I need to do something.' Was it rational? I don't think so," said Littleton.

Not knowing what might happen, she did know her colleagues were in great peril.

"My guys were lined up like ducks in a pond, and so I could either walk away and try to live with myself because I knew something bad was going to happen. Or I could try to defend, delay, somehow divert, hoping the cavalry would come soon," said Littleton.

So she turned to her purse.

"My guys had 3 ring binders and pencils to protect themselves, so I whacked him with the purse, hoping I could get him to drop the gun. Obviously, that didn't work," said Littleton.

In seconds, Duke threw Littleton to the ground.

"After he called me a name which I probably deserved at that point, he said get out of here. And while I may be a slightly slow learner, I did think that was very good advice and I took it,” Littleton added.

But now it's not just the person, but also the purse, in the national and international spotlight.

"Right now it's probably one of the more famous hand bags in Panama City, but it served the purpose. I just wish I had left a brick or the kitchen sink in it," said Littleton.

Littleton says when she got home her three daughters look at her and said “Mom, what were you thinking?”

She says she still doesn’t know the answer to that question. But she does know she had to try to do something.


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