A man suspected of carrying out a shooting at a medical facility in Atlanta, Georgia, has been charged with murder and aggravated assault, according to jail records from Fulton County. The alleged gunman, 24-year-old Deion Patterson, was apprehended on Wednesday evening in Cobb County, northwest of the city. The shooting took place at the Northside Hospital Midtown Medical building, resulting in the death of a 39-year-old woman and the injuries of four other women. At least three of the injured victims were in critical condition as of Wednesday evening. The victims range in age from 25 to 71, and it is unclear if they were specifically targeted or if they are employees or patients of the medical practice.
The woman who was killed has been identified as Amy St. Pierre, a 39-year-old employee of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), according to an affidavit obtained by NPR. Grady Memorial Hospital, where some of the injured victims were taken, confirmed their critical condition. The motive for the shooting remains unclear, and police continue to investigate the incident. Patterson’s mother was with him at the time of the shooting but was not injured.
The events unfolded around noon local time when police received reports of a shooting in the medical center’s waiting room. Patterson had an appointment in the building and spent about two minutes inside before fleeing on foot to a nearby gas station, where he stole a pickup truck. The truck was later tracked to Cobb County, where Patterson was arrested near a shopping area close to the Atlanta Braves baseball team’s home stadium.
Law enforcement agencies from the Atlanta region and federal agencies participated in the investigation and manhunt. Witnesses and technology played a significant role in tracking Patterson’s location. Many details about the case have not been disclosed, as the investigation is ongoing and a criminal case is pending. Patterson has had limited prior contact with the police department, according to Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum.
A witness named KJ Johnson was inside the medical building during the shooting. He initially mistook the gunshots for a motorcycle backfiring but soon learned about the incident through a television news report. Johnson and others in the building remained calm and were safely evacuated by the medical staff.
Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia addressed the shooting on the Senate floor, expressing anger about gun violence in the country. He emphasized the need for action, highlighting the numerous mass shootings that have occurred. Children at his own children’s school were on lockdown during the incident.