MADISON, Ala. (WAFF) - On Feb. 5, 2010, a shot rang out at Discovery Middle School.
15-year-old Hammad Memon walked behind 14-year-old Todd Brown and aimed for the head.
Former Madison City School Board Member Phil Schmidt said a school turned into a nightmare.
“When someone calls and says you got to get down to this location because of a school shooting, that was about as big a nightmare as you can imagine for a school board member," he said.
He said he rushed to the scene, and former Superintendent Dee Fowler told him to go to the hospital to be with the family.
“What do you say? We just felt we needed to be there and just visit at the family at the hospital, which we did," he said.
In the aftermath, Schmidt and his colleagues were tasked with working with community leaders to muster a response.
“I remember one of the things that the police chief said at the time that really struck us, he said, I don’t know all the facts right now, but I can almost promise you, that somebody knew this was going to happen before it happened,” he said.
"That information needs to get to us before this kind of thing happens."
The board ran with it, and instituted the text to protect line (256-604-2345).
It’s an confidential tip line for students to reach out to police if they think something is going to happen.
Schmidt said in his time on the board, police were able to stop fights and students were referred to counseling as a result of the line.
Current Madison City Schools Superintendent Robby Parker sent WAFF a statement:
February 5, 2010, was certainly a dark day for Discovery Middle and Madison City Schools. Todd Brown and his family forever hold a place in our hearts. We mourn not only his loss, but all he would have become and contributed to society. Tragedies like this call us to look deeply for ways to prevent future occurrences, After the DMS incident, a city task force was created to look for areas of improvement. One tool that came from that was the highly effective Text-to-Protect. The District also beefed up its SRO program and now has SRO coverage in every one of our schools. We have increased emphasis on relationship-building with students so that every child has a sense of belonging. This is done through mentoring, school clubs, the popular “house program” at elementary schools and other means – all designed to build peer relationships and pathways to an adult mentor in schools.
In court, attorney Mark McDaniel represented Brown’s family and helped prosecutors pursue an adult trial for Memon.
He has a picture of Brown just feet from his desk.
“There’s no way you can convince anybody, that Hammad Memon didn’t know right from wrong. He meant to kill Todd Brown,” said.
Memon was tried as an adult and defense attorney Bruce Gardner argued his Pakistani heritage made him a target at school.
“Kind of social misfit if you will, it was horrible at school and kills would all call him Osama and stuff like that,” he said.
“He had just been provoked to the point where he didn’t see any alternative to do this, and of course it was a very very bad choice.”
The family tried to flee the country but were caught by Dallas Police.
Memon plead guilty, and is now serving a 30 year sentence.
His parole consideration date is scheduled for Dec. 1, 2026,