1 dead after shooting on hijacked Gwinnett County bus, wildcat police pursue I-85 – WSB-TV Channel 2

GWINNETT COUNTY, GA. — One person is dead after police say a gunman hijacked a downtown Atlanta bus with 17 people on board while pointing a gun at the bus driver’s head.

The incident began at 45 Ivan Allen Jr. Boulevard around 4:30 p.m. Atlanta police said they responded to initial reports of an armed man on the bus holding hostages and that there may have been a discharge of a weapon. The call was then immediately disconnected.

Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum said 911 then received a second call from a family member of a person on the bus who sent him text messages saying the bus had been hijacked and those on board were taken hostage.

Shortly after, 911 received a third call from the bus and that line remained open the entire time.

“It was this information that our call takers and dispatchers were hearing that was relayed initially to the Atlanta Police Department, then to the Georgia State Patrol, and then to our partners in Gwinnett and DeKalb County to put an end to to this hostage situation,” Schierbaum said.

The bus traveled down I-85 into Gwinnett County, then down Jimmy Carter Boulevard and finally onto Hugh Howell Road.

Triple Team Traffic saw the bus hit numerous cars as it weaved through traffic.

At one point, all lanes of the highway were closed as officers employed several different tactics to try to stop the bus.

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When the bus stopped on Jimmy Carter Boulevard, officers threw spike strips, appearing to disable the tires.

Numerous police officers surrounded the bus after it turned onto Hugh Howell Road.

A SWAT vehicle appeared to be right in front of him. The Georgia State Patrol, DeKalb County Police, DeKalb County Commissioner’s Office and Atlanta Police all responded to the incident.

DeKalb County police said once the bus stopped, passengers began getting off. Atlanta police said there were 17 people on the bus, including the bus driver.

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Officers found an adult victim dead from an apparent gunshot wound on the bus. Police have not released the identity of this person.

Chief Schierbaum identified the shooter as Joseph Grier, 39, of Stone Mountain. He said Greer had been arrested 19 times previously and was a convicted felon.

A Channel 2 Action News The photographer spoke to Dennis Durham, who said he was exiting Gusto on Hugh Howell in Tucker when a car in front of him reversed and hit him.

“Here’s the bus coming right in front of us and it just ran over a lot of these cars and caused them to crash into each other,” Durham said. “I saw so many police cars in so many different areas that my head was spinning.”

Channel 2 Action News He spoke to another man who said his wife was a passenger on the bus and that the suspect appeared to be mentally ill.

Many vehicles along the bus route had to be rammed after being struck.

Sheirbaum thanked everyone involved for ending the incident as quickly and peacefully as they did.

“You saw the collective effort and dedication of law enforcement working together today to save lives, rescue hostages and make this end,” Schierbaum said.

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