Police said a man opened fire inside the waiting room of an Atlanta medical facility, killing one woman and injuring four others Wednesday as authorities swarmed the city’s bustling midtown neighborhood in search of the 24-year-old suspect.
Shortly after noon, police were called to the Northside Medical building on West Peachtree Street in a commercial area filled with office towers and high-rise apartments.
Atlanta police said the suspected shooter is believed to be Deion Patterson and that he was considered armed and dangerous. Authorities released a photo of Patterson and asked anyone with information about his whereabouts to call 911 and not approach him.
Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum told reporters that a 39-year-old woman was pronounced dead at the scene. The four injured victims were also women, aged 25, 39, 56 and 71.
Those four “are fighting for their lives at Grady Hospital,” Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said during a news conference.
Four hours after the shooting, police said they believed Patterson had left the area. They lifted a shelter-in-place advisory, but asked people to stay away from the area due to the active investigation.
“This is a very active search,” Schierbaum said. “We’re following up on credible leads that are currently active in Cobb County, as well as some here in the city.”
Atlanta police said they are aware of a carjacking that happened not long after the shooting a few blocks away. They said the vehicle has been recovered in suburban Cobb County, and they were working to determine whether the vehicle was connected to the shooting.
Schierbaum added that Patterson’s family is “being cooperative” with investigators.
In a statement, the U.S. Coast Guard said Patterson had joined the service in 2018 and was discharged from active duty in January. He was an electrician’s mate second class at the time.
Crime Stoppers was offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and indictment of the suspect.
The shooting comes as cities around the U.S. have been wracked by gun violence and mass shootings in 2023.
Shortly after the shooting, U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia took to the Senate floor to decry gun violence and to urge his colleagues to advance gun reform.
“There have been so many mass shootings … that, tragically, we act as if this is routine,” Warnock said during a 12-minute speech. “We behave as if this is normal. It is not normal.”
The Atlanta pastor added: “I shudder to say it, but the truth is, in a real sense, it’s only a matter of time that this kind of tragedy comes knocking on your door.”
This story has been corrected to show that one of the surviving victims was 39, not 29.
AFRO WORLD NEWS