Atlanta: Gunman injures 3 people in food court before being shot by officer

ATLANTA (AP) — A gunman fatally shot three people in a downtown Atlanta food court before being fatally shot by a police officer Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.

All four people shot in the Peachtree Center food court are expected to survive, including the suspect, according to Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum.

At a news conference, Mayor Andre Dickens praised the officer who wounded the shooter.

“If he hadn’t been there, things might have gotten worse,” Dickens said.

Peachtree Center It is a complex of office towers and underground shopping mall located a few blocks from several hotels that anchor Atlanta’s bustling convention district.

The shooting happened around 2:15 p.m., Schierbaum said.

The three people shot by the suspect were a 47-year-old man from Grayson, a 69-year-old woman from East Point and a 70-year-old woman from Atlanta, Schierbaum said.

The suspect, a 34-year-old man from Morrow, just south of Atlanta, had a “brief altercation” with one of the victims and pulled out a gun and shot the person, Schierbaum said. He then shot two more people, Schierbaum said. It is not yet known whether the shooter knew the victims.

All four people were taken to the hospital and two are in critical condition, Schierbaum said.

An off-duty Atlanta police officer who was working security at the food court attacked the man, then shot and injured him. The officer “acted decisively, put himself in harm’s way and ended this threat to the community,” Schierbaum said. He said the mall’s video cameras recorded the shooting and the response.

The suspect had already been arrested several times and served a prison sentence for armed robbery. Because of that prior felony conviction, he shouldn’t have had a gun, Schierbaum said.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is investigating the circumstances surrounding the shooting, which is standard practice when a police officer shoots someone.

In the aftermath of the shooting, crowds of people gathered at a nearby intersection, many of them wondering what had happened. Several blocks of Peachtree Street were blocked off with crime scene tape as police and firefighters converged on the scene. Nearby, security guards were on alert at hotels and the city’s main library.

Elizabeth Ingram, of Atlanta, said she was leaving the break room at the Chick-fil-A where she works when she heard the first shots. She said a manager pushed her back into the break room and onto the floor with other co-workers.

“We relaxed for a minute, then we heard more shots,” she said. “So we went back down.”

Tab Tambe of Atlanta said he had just bought lunch at Chick-fil-A and was sitting down to eat when the shooting broke out. Tambe said he fell as he and others were fleeing the still-busy food court and that “there was blood everywhere” near a pizzeria and Mexican restaurant. Tambe said he ran around the corner, but did not leave the building because he forgot his phone.

“I don’t know if it was just my boldness or my worry about my phone, but I was just hanging back to see what would happen,” he said.

Tambe said gunfire was exchanged between a police officer and the man, then he saw officers approaching the shooter “bit by bit” as he peeked around the corner. a wall.

“He was on the ground, police were surrounding him,” Tambe said.

Schierbaum said a second officer moved the gun away from the injured shooter, then officers first rendered aid to the four injured people, including applying a tourniquet to stop the shooter’s bleeding, before all were transported to the hospital.

Ingram said he saw people leaving on stretchers.

“You never know what can happen,” she says. “It happened out of nowhere. It was so scary that I thought I was never going to go home to my son and it scared me. My heart was beating so fast.

The Peachtree Center complex includes 10 office buildings, three major hotels, four trade show buildings and four parking garages. Developed by architect John Portman, it spans 14 blocks of downtown Atlanta. Six of the office buildings were Seizure in 2022 After a previous owner defaulted on a loan as office vacancies increased.

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