By Dave Williams
Capitol Beat News Service
ATLANTA – One person was killed and four wounded in Midtown Atlanta Wednesday afternoon when a gunman opened fire inside a medical facility waiting room.
The suspect, identified by police as Deion Patterson, 24, was at a medical center on West Peachtree Street operated by Northside Hospital with his mother when he pulled out a gun and began firing.
A 39-year-woman died at the scene, Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum told reporters at a news conference. The four wounded also were women, ages 71, 56, 39, and 25, Schierbaum said.
The wounded women were transported to Grady Memorial Hospital, where three are listed in critical condition, said Dr. Robert Jansen, chief medical officer for Grady Health System.
Jansen said Grady’s doctors and nurses routinely train to handle mass shootings.
“We were completely prepared for it,” he said. “We had all the staff we needed.”
Schierbaum said Patterson left the building immediately after the shootings, and police believed he carjacked a nearby vehicle. The vehicle was recovered in Cobb County. His mother was uninjured and has been cooperating with police, the chief said.
“Law enforcement agencies across this city are working together to bring this suspect in and make sure we are all safe,” Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said.
Police released a driver’s license photo of Patterson to help members of the public identify him. A $10,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the suspect’s capture.
“We’re dealing with someone who is armed and dangerous,” Dickens said. “If you see him, do not approach. Call 911.”
With police unsure of Patterson’s whereabouts after the shootings, workers in Midtown office buildings, nearby guests and employees of hotels and restaurants, and school students sheltered in place for several hours. Those sheltering included two young children of U.S. Sen Raphael Warnock, D-Ga.
Warnock took to the Senate floor after the shootings to plead for legislation to curb what has become an epidemic of gun violence in America.
“We act as if this is routine. We behave as if this is normal,” Warnock said. “It is not normal. It is not right for us to live in a nation where nobody is safe no matter where we are.”