Mom of Atlanta Hospital Shooting Suspect Blames ‘Messed Up Medication’

Atlanta PD
Atlanta PD

After an hours-long manhunt, police nabbed a suspect late Wednesday night after he allegedly opened fire in an Atlanta hospital waiting room, killing one woman and leaving five other women fighting for their lives.

Cops in Cobb County took 24-year-old Deion Patterson into custody without incident at about 8 p.m. Atlanta Police had earlier described him as “Armed and Dangerous” after he allegedly opened fire inside Northside Hospital at around lunchtime then fled the city by carjacking a white pickup.

Cobb County police chief Stuart VanHoozer described the afternoon manhunt as “fairly chaotic” but said they received a ton of tips and had “enough clues to have a pretty good instinct on the calls that were coming in.” Acting on a credible 911 call, an undercover cop was the first to spot Patterson, he said. Footage of the arrest, obtained by local news station WSB-TV, showed the suspect kneeling on the ground with his hands up.

Police said Patterson went to an outpatient facility on the 11th floor of Northside Hospital at around 12 p.m. Wednesday, accompanied by his mother, but he became enraged for some reason, and pulled out a handgun. Cops later confirmed Patterson had an appointment at the facility before the shooting. The mother later assisted investigators in the search for her son, Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum said.

Reached by phone shortly after Patterson’s name was released by the Atlanta PD, the mom, Minyone Patterson, told The Daily Beast, “The damn VA gave him some messed up medication. And all he wanted was an Ativan.”

She hung up without elaborating further. Ativan is a benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety.

Patterson joined the U.S. Coast Guard in 2018 and was discharged in January as an electrician’s mate second class, according to Atlanta NPR affiliate WABE.

Karen Henderson, Patterson’s aunt, told The Daily Beast on Wednesday afternoon that she hasn’t seen her nephew since he graduated from USCG basic training. But, she said, there weren’t any signs of trouble back then and that Wednesday’s events came as a shock.

All five victims were women, Schierbaum said, but it was too early to say what Patterson’s motive was or “why these individuals were chosen.”

A 39-year-old woman was pronounced dead at the scene. She was identified Wednesday night as 39-year-old Amy St. Pierre, an employee of the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). Her husband, Julian St. Pierre, confirmed the death to The Atlanta-Journal Constitution. The CDC told the outlet that it “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.”

Just minutes after the midday shooting, police shared four surveillance images of the fugitive suspect, showing him wearing a gray hoodie, a bag, and gloves, and holding up what appears to be a handgun as he stands in a doorway.

Police said Patterson spent around two minutes in the hospital waiting room before he fled and carjacked a white pickup that was idling unattended at a nearby gas station. FOX5 reported that the white Toyota Tacoma was dumped about 12 miles away in the city of Smyrna, and Patterson then fled on foot.

<div class="inline-image__credit">Atlanta PD</div>
Atlanta PD

Ahmed Ali, who works in Northside’s radiation oncology department, told FOX5 that a colleague noticed a pool of blood in an elevator car when it came down from the 11th-floor outpatient facility, prompting Ali to call a “code silver.”

As they fled the building, another colleague noticed someone had tried to break into his car. The window was smashed and the hazard lights were on, Ali said, leading them to believe the suspect may have been trying to make a hasty getaway.

Officials used license-plate reading technology, plus a flurry of public tips, to track Patterson’s movements and narrow their search to part of Cobb County. He was eventually taken into custody outside an apartment complex.

Gov. Brian Kemp released a statement late Wednesday night, saying: “We are heartbroken by today’s tragedy in Midtown Atlanta and join all Georgians in praying for those impacted and their loved ones. We’re also thanking God for the brave local and state law enforcement who responded forcefully and without hesitation.”

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