Gunman wounds 3 in Atlanta food court before being shot by officer, police say

ATLANTA — A gunman shot three people at a food court in downtown Atlanta before he was shot by a police officer Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.

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

During a news conference, Mayor Andre Dickens praised the responding officer who wounded the gunman.

“Had he not been there, things could have gotten worse,” Dickens said.

Peachtree Center is a complex of office towers and an underground mall within blocks of several hotels servicing Atlanta’s busy convention business.

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 that person, Schierbaum said. He then shot the two other people.

All four people went to the hospital and two are in critical condition, the mayor said.

An off-duty Atlanta police officer who was working security at the food court engaged the man and then shot and injured him. The officer “acted decisively, placed himself in danger and ended that threat to the community,” Schierbaum said.

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

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

In the aftermath of the shooting, crowds of people milled around at a nearby intersection, many of them asking each other what had happened. Several blocks of Peachtree Street were blocked off with crime scene tape as police officers and firefighters converged on the scene.

Elizabeth Ingram, of Atlanta, was leaving the break room of the Chick-fil-A where she works when she heard the first shots close by.

“We relaxed for a minute and then we heard more shooting,” she said. “So we got right back down.”

Ingram said she saw people wheeled away on gurneys.

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

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