A Coast Guard veteran suspected of opening fire inside the waiting room of an Atlanta medical center, killing one and wounding four others, was charged with one count of murder and four counts of aggravated assault, according to Fulton County Jail records.
Deion Patterson waived his right to a first appearance in court, which had been set for Thursday morning, according to officials.
The 24-year-old suspect was taken into custody Wednesday night around 8 p.m., nearly eight hours after violence erupted inside Northside Hospital Midtown. He allegedly pulled out a pistol while waiting in an 11th floor sitting area and unleashed a barrage of bullets, fatally striking 39-year-old Amy St. Pierre, who worked at the Centers for Disease Control headquarters in Atlanta.
St. Pierre’s researched primarily focused on reducing pregnancy-related deaths, according to a 2021 research report she co-authored.
“CDC is deeply saddened by the unexpected loss of a colleague killed today in the Midtown Atlanta shooting,” the agency said in a statement to ABC 7. “Our hearts are with her family, friends, and colleagues as they remember her and grieve this tragic loss.”
Another four women — ages 71, 56, 39 and 25 — were wounded in the gunfire, police siad. Three of the victims remained in critical condition while the fourth was listed as stable.
They have not been identified. It was not immediately clear whether they were patients or medical center employees.
“It’s still too soon to know why these individuals were chosen,” Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum told reporters during a news conference after the shooting.
Patterson fled as authorities descended on the hospital just after 12 p.m., triggering a massive, hours-long manhunt. Police said the 24-year-old suspect stole a pickup truck that was left running at a nearby gas station. The vehicle was later spotted on Transportation Department cameras traveling in Cobb County.
The footage, paired with tipsters phoning 911, culminated in Patterson’s arrest, according to Deputy Atlanta Police Chief Charles Hampton.
A motive behind the gunfire remained unclear early Thursday. Police said the suspect was at the medical center with his mother.
“We know that he had an appointment at the facility,” Deputy Atlanta Police Chief Charles Hampton said at a news conference. “Why he did what he did, all that is still under investigation.”
Patterson served in the Coast Guard until he was discharged in January, the agency said in a statement to NBC News. He most recently served as an electrician’s mate second class.