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Felon shot by officer after opening fire at Atlanta food court, police say

Peachtree Center is a 2.5 million-square-foot complex consisting of six office towers and a mall developed by famed Atlanta architect and developer John Portman. (Miguel Martinez/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)

ATLANTA — Four people were injured Tuesday afternoon, including the suspect, during a shooting in a busy downtown Atlanta food court, police said.

The incident took place inside Peachtree Center’s The Hub, located at 235 Peachtree Street, around 2:15 p.m., Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said during a news conference near the scene. It began as a fight between two people, Dickens said, and one of those involved is accused of pulling out a gun and shooting three other people.

“A 34-year-old suspect armed with a handgun had entered the food court, and after a brief altercation with an individual, he shot that individual. And then that perpetrator continued on to shoot two others that were in the food court,” police Chief Darin Schierbaum said.

The suspected gunman was then shot by an off-duty Atlanta police officer while still holding on to his handgun, Schierbaum said, adding that surveillance footage helped authorities understand what had happened.

Among those injured are a 47-year-old man from Grayson, a 69-year-old woman from East Point and a 70-year-old woman from Atlanta. Two victims were taken to Grady Memorial Hospital and were said to be in critical condition. The two others were taken to Emory Midtown Hospital.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has been asked to investigate the incident, but the agency has not provided information.

The suspect is a felon who has served prison time for an armed robbery and has been arrested 11 times, officials confirmed. The suspect’s name was not released, but police confirmed charges against him are forthcoming.

“This is an individual that should never have been possessing a gun. An individual that should never have placed this community in harm,” Schierbaum said.

The building at Peachtree Street and John Portman Boulevard was placed in a lockdown and residents were asked to avoid the area immediately after the shooting, but all roads soon reopened. Police at the scene said many witnesses left behind their possessions, including backpacks and cellphones, when the shooting erupted.

Tab Tambe had taken two bites from his Chick-fil-A meal when he heard a blast and assumed something had dropped in one of the kitchens. But then the sound of gunfire became clearer. He looked for cover, leaving his phone at his table.

“Everyone started running, so I looked at the one person who wasn’t running and it was the shooter,” Tambe told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution after he was able to make it out of the Peachtree Center.

He remembered falling as people fled in all directions. He ran toward a Dairy Queen and tried to catch glimpses of the shooter and police as he stayed hidden.

He said he was shocked by the shooting, explaining that it didn’t feel like real life.

“I’m just glad that I’m alive,” he said.

Jamal Mathews was getting ready to return to his truck after finishing a delivery at a building across from the shooting location when he saw dozens of police officers flood Peachtree Street. He said it’s common to see police officers around the downtown area, and he wasn’t surprised to learn that a shooting had occurred.

“I’m just glad the police can make the block safe … I can see they really know what they’re doing,” Mathews said.

The Peachtree Center MARTA station, which is a short walk from the shooting location, was not impacted.

Peachtree Center is a 2.5 million-square-foot complex consisting of six office towers and a mall developed by famed Atlanta architect and developer John Portman.


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