Police arrest Atlanta mass shooting suspect
Police have arrested the man who killed one woman and injured four others in a shooting Wednesday afternoon at a medical office building in Midtown Atlanta.
The latest: The suspect, 24-year-old Deion Patterson, was apprehended in Cobb County several hours after the shooting shut down the heart of Midtown.
What happened: Officers said the incident took place in the waiting room on the 11th floor of the Northside Midtown medical building at 1100 W. Peachtree Street. Atlanta Deputy Chief Charles Hampton, Jr. said that Patterson was at the office for an appointment.
- Amy St. Pierre of Atlanta was killed, the Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office confirmed to Axios. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told Axios that she was an employee of the agency.
- "Our hearts are with her family, friends, and colleagues as they remember her and grieve this tragic loss," spokesperson Benjamin N. Haynes said.
Four other victims, women ages 71, 56, 39 and 25, were all hospitalized.
- Grady said Wednesday night that one victim was stable, and three underwent surgery and remain in intensive care. Police have not released their names.
After the shooting, Hampton said that Patterson "commandeered" a pickup truck that was idling outside a nearby Shell gas station and fled the area.
- The manhunt migrated to Cobb County once a license plate reader scanned the vehicle's plate.
- Cobb police tweeted just before 8pm that he had been captured.
- Police did not say exactly where he was apprehended or under what circumstances but WSB-TV posted a video of the suspect apparently being arrested behind an apartment complex.
Cobb Police Chief Stuart VanHoozer said technology "played a huge role" in officers tracking Patterson's movements.
- "Technology doesn't do any good without people who are determined to capture an individual that would do something like this, and today we saw where those two things came together in an amazing way,” he said.
Of note: Patterson was a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard who had been discharged in January, WABE News reported.
- His sister told the New York Times in a brief phone interview that he was "not mentally stable," especially after leaving the Coast Guard.
- His mother told WSB-TV he was upset doctors would not give him Ativan, an anti-anxiety drug that can also be addictive.
But, but, but: Police declined to comment on what led to the shooting and whether Patterson may have been experiencing a mental health episode.
Politicians respond to shooting
Elected officials from City Hall to Congress thanked law enforcement and first responders, expressed condolences and called for action following the shooting.
Why it matters: Their responses underscore the now-familiar partisan divide over where elected officials tend to point fingers after shootings.
Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) spoke on the Senate floor Wednesday as the search for the shooter was underway — and as his children were on lockdown in their schools.
- He asked his colleagues to not let partisan gridlock hold back more legislation on gun control like universal background checks.
- "We behave as if this is normal," Warnock said. "It is not normal."
In a statement released before Patterson's arrest, Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) said the shooting was "an attack on all Georgians."
- “The level of gun violence in America today is unconscionable and unacceptable, and policymakers at all levels have a responsibility to ensure public safety and implement long-overdue reforms."
Gov. Brian Kemp expressed condolences to the victims and thanked local and state law enforcement for their response but did not speak of any policy change.
- "Those heroes demonstrated yet again their professionalism, courage, and unwavering dedication to protecting their fellow Georgians," he said in a statement.
U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams also released a statement, saying the shooting "is yet another infuriating reminder that gun violence is a policy choice."
- "I am past heartbreak–I am angry," she said. "For the victims, their families, the school children on lockdown... like my seven-year-old son — for our entire community."
GOP Lt. Gov. Burt Jones thanked law enforcement for their response to the "horrific event" and offered condolences to the victims.
- "Acts like these will not be tolerated and this suspect will be brought to justice," he said.
Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said that Wednesday's shooting was a "horrible act of gun violence, but equally horrifying is that we know that this is not unique in our country."
- "What more can we do as a community, as a state or as a nation?" he asked.
- "We have a national epidemic on gun violence in America, and we have a serious problem with how we are treating mental health in this nation. One thing we know is that it doesn't have to be this way."
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
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