Police: 1 dead, 4 injured after shooting in Atlanta hospital; suspect apprehended

The 24-year-old man suspected of fatally shooting one woman and injuring four others inside a waiting room at a hospital in Atlanta before carjacking a vehicle and fleeing the scene was apprehended Wednesday evening after an hourslong search, police said.

The Atlanta Police Department confirmed the suspect, Deion Patterson, was apprehended in Cobb County. He was booked at Fulton County Jail and faces one charge of murder and four counts of aggravated assault, jail records show.

Police received a call of shots fired on the 11th floor of Northside Hospital's Midtown location just after noon Wednesday, Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum said in a news conference.

Patterson had an appointment at the facility and started shooting in the waiting area, Atlanta Deputy Chief of Investigations Charles Hampton said. He exited the building after only a couple minutes and went on foot to a nearby gas station, where he commandeered a pickup truck that had been left unattended and left the area, Hampton said.

Law enforcement later located the truck. Hampton said after the arrest that the handgun Patterson used was recovered.

The hourslong investigation, which officials said was at times chaotic, included tips from community members and information given by Patterson's family members. Cobb County Police Chief Stuart VanHoozer said license plate-surveilling cameras and other technology was instrumental in the search. Several law enforcement agencies were involved, including Atlanta and Cobb County police, the FBI and U.S. Secret Service were involved in the search, Schierbaum said.

Police had lifted a shelter-in-place advisory for midtown Atlanta earlier Wednesday afternoon but advised community members to avoid the area and remain alert.

"We've had a successful end to a traumatic day. Today is a day that we can go home and rest easy that the individual that caused harm in our community is under arrest," Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said.

Nikita Rapoport, who attends Savannah College of Art and Design, told USA TODAY he lives in the apartment building across from the hospital and was told to stay inside after the shooting.

“I expected Midtown to be safe. It’s one of the reasons why I chose this building,” he said. “Apparently it’s not.”

Woman killed in shooting was a CDC employee

The woman killed in the shooting was identified by the Fulton County medical examiner’s office as Amy St. Pierre.

She was an employee with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, spokesperson Benjamin Haynes confirmed to USA TODAY. According to a public LinkedIn profile, St. Pierre worked as a public health adviser for the CDC.

"CDC is deeply saddened by the unexpected loss of a colleague killed today in the Midtown Atlanta shooting. Our hearts are with her family, friends, and colleagues as they remember her and grieve this tragic loss," Haynes said in a statement.

Suspect spotted in Cobb County after shooting

Officials in Cobb County said the suspect was believed to have been in Cobb County about 10 miles away soon after the shooting.

"We actually went back and did discover that the vehicle had entered Cobb County," Cobb County Sgt. Wayne Delk said at a press conference.

Delk said the suspect was seen at about 12:30 p.m. on a surveillance camera but Cobb County police didn't review the footage until about 2:30 p.m. There had been no other sightings of him since then, Delk said, adding that the carjacked vehicle had been recovered by Atlanta Police Department.

Three of four injured victims in critical condition

One woman, 39, died at the scene, he said. The four injured women – ages 71, 56, 39 and 25 – were taken to a Grady Memorial Hospital, which is close to Northside Hospital's Midtown location, Schierbaum said.

Three of the four injured women were in critical condition from gunshot wounds, and one was stable, said Robert Jansen, chief medical officer at Grady Health System, in an afternoon news conference. The most seriously injured patient was still in the operating room late Wednesday, he said. He declined to share details about the patients' wounds.

It was not immediately clear if the victims were patients or staff, Schierbaum said.

Jansen said the hospital issued a call for a mass casualty event and had multiple surgeons and trauma staff in the trauma bay within minutes, anticipating up to 12 patients. Northside Hospital said it would be closed on Thursday, and all appointments were canceled.

Emergency vehicles arrive on West Peachtree in Atlanta on Wednesday, May 3, 2023.  Police say are investigating an “active shooter situation” in a building in Atlanta's Midtown neighborhood and that multiple people had been injured.
Emergency vehicles arrive on West Peachtree in Atlanta on Wednesday, May 3, 2023. Police say are investigating an “active shooter situation” in a building in Atlanta's Midtown neighborhood and that multiple people had been injured.

Atlanta schools cleared to release students

Several Atlanta Public Schools locked down after the shooting. By Wednesday afternoon, the district announced it had received the green light from law enforcement to release students from all schools.

"Out of an abundance of caution, we have dispatched officers at every school for today’s dismissal," the district said in a statement, telling parents and guardians to expect transportation delays.

Shooting suspect recently discharged from US Coast Guard

The shooting suspect entered the U.S. Coast Guard in 2018 and was discharged from active duty in January, according to a statement from the branch, which said it is working closely with law enforcement in the investigation.

"The Coast Guard is aware of the tragic incident in Atlanta allegedly involving Mr. Deion Patterson. Our deepest sympathies are with the victims and their families," the Coast Guard said.

Patterson’s mother, Minyone Patterson, who police said had accompanied her son to the medical office, told The Associated Press by phone that her son had "some mental instability going on" from medication he received from the Veterans Affairs health system that he began taking on Friday.

She said her son had wanted Ativan to deal with anxiety and depression but that the VA wouldn’t give it to him because they said it would be "too addicting." She’s a nurse and said she told them he would only have taken the proper dosage "because he listened to me in every way."

"Those families, those families," she said, starting to sob. "They’re hurting because they wouldn’t give my son his damn Ativan. Those families lost their loved ones because he had a mental break because they wouldn’t listen to me."

She ended the call without saying what medication her son had been taking.

Warnock: 'None of us is safe'

Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock said on the Senate floor Wednesday that his two children's schools were placed on lockdown as police searched for the suspect.

"They are there. I’m here, hoping and praying that they are safe. But the truth is none of us is safe," Warnock said.

'Frightening trend' Deadly assaults on US medical workers on the rise

Warnock called on lawmakers to act on gun violence and condemned gun lobbyists. He said it was "deeply upsetting" that the shooting happened in a medical building where health care workers and first responders work to keep people safe.

“This happened in a medical facility where people are trying to find healing,” he said.

Nearly 200 mass shootings in the US in 2023

The incident is the 191st mass shooting in the U.S. this year, defined as at least four victims hit by gunfire, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit that tracks shootings.

The White House was aware of the incident and in contact with local officials, Dickens said.

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Contributing: Francisco Guzman, USA TODAY; The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Atlanta shooting live updates: 1 dead, 4 injured; police ID suspect