A man shot and wounded 3 people in a downtown Atlanta food court before he was shot by a police officer, officials say

A 34-year-old man with an extensive criminal record shot and wounded three people in a popular downtown Atlanta food court Tuesday, before he was shot by a police officer and taken into custody, officials said.

The victims, all three of whom are alive and being treated at area hospitals, include a 47-year-old man, a 69-year-old woman and a 70-year-old woman. They are all expected to survive, authorities said.

“This is a busy area. This is where people work, and this is where people dine while they are at work so a lunchtime crowd was there and it was fairly active,” Mayor Andre Dickens said.

Police began receiving calls shortly after 2:15 p.m. Tuesday reporting shots fired at the food court of Peachtree Center, a hub of office spaces and stores, Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum said in the news conference.

Ambulances arrive near the scene of the reported shooting. - WANF
Ambulances arrive near the scene of the reported shooting. - WANF

The suspect allegedly entered the food court armed with a handgun and had a “brief altercation” with a person before shooting that individual, the police chief said, later clarifying the shooter “physically attacked” the person before shooting them.

The suspect then went on to shoot two other people who were in the food court, Schierbaum said.

The suspect was then confronted by an off-duty Atlanta Police officer who was working an extra job. The officer confronted and shot the suspect, wounding him, the police chief said. A second officer kicked the gun away from the suspect, helping disarm him, the chief said.

The Atlanta police officer “acted decisively, placed himself in danger and ended that threat for the community,” Schierbaum said.

The suspect is a convicted felon who has served prison time for an armed robbery and has “11 previous arrest cycles,” the police chief said. “This is an individual that should never have been possessing a gun and an individual that should never have placed this community in harm.”

Law enforcement gathers near the scene of the reported shooting. - WANF
Law enforcement gathers near the scene of the reported shooting. - WANF

Authorities are working to determine how the suspect may have been connected to the individual he first attacked. Police have not shared any other identifying details about the suspect.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation will lead the investigation into the case, officials said.

Peachtree Center, at the heart of the city’s downtown, boasts more than “1.5 million square feet” of office space across four buildings, as well as 50 restaurants and retail shops and three hotels, according to its website.

The building was placed on lockdown after the shooting but had reopened by late Tuesday afternoon, the mayor said. He had earlier warned residents to “avoid the area.”

Just over two hours after the shooting unfolded, another man in Atlanta allegedly held the driver of a commuter bus at gunpoint, leading police on a rush hour chase while more than a dozen passengers remained in the vehicle. The suspect in that case was taken into custody, and one person who was found shot on the bus has died, police said.

Authorities have said they do not believe the two incidents are connected.

“Today has been a very active day, but let me be clear, we’re talking about gun violence that is as a result of too many people having guns in their hands,” Dickens said in an evening news conference that followed the bus hijacking. “You’re talking about people that should not have been on the streets with guns.”

“I think mental health is going to play a role in some of this, but you’re talking about too many guns in the hands of individuals that should not have guns. Too many guns on our streets, too many guns in our homes, too many guns in our schools and buses,” the mayor said. “So this is clearly an indication that something more needs to be done.”

This is a developing story and will be updated.

CNN’s Devon M. Sayers contributed to this report.

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