Thursday, September 28, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Thursday, September 28, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Atlanta shooting suspect waives first court appearance

The gunman was arrested Wednesday night following an eight-hourlong manhunt by nearly a dozen different law enforcement agencies.

ATLANTA (CN) — The man who opened fire inside a medical facility and shot five women waived his initial hearing at the Fulton County Jail Thursday after being charged with murder and four counts of aggravated assault.

24 year-old Deion Patterson was captured and arrested around 8 p.m. Wednesday night, following an eight-hourlong manhunt by law enforcement officers from nearly a dozen different agencies.

Shots were reportedly fired around noon inside what appears to be the offices of Laureate Medical Group of the Northside Hospital Midtown medical building. The 12-story facility sits on West Peachtree Street, between 12th and 13th Streets, a commercial area with many office towers and high-rise apartments. 

While a motive remains unknown, Patterson had an appointment at the Northside Medical Midtown facility Wednesday, Atlanta police Deputy Chief Charles Hampton Jr. confirmed. Witnesses said the gunman opened fire in a waiting room after being told he arrived too late to be seen.

Patterson’s mother reportedly went with him to the appointment. Minyone Patterson told the Associated Press on Thursday that her son “had some mental instability going on” from medication he began taking on Friday. She said that Petterson was denied a prescription for Ativan, the anxiety medication he had requested by his Veterans Affairs medical team, who feared it would become addictive.

Patterson was reportedly discharged from the U.S. Coast Guard in January after first entering in 2018, but the reason why is not yet clear. The agency said he entered the Coast Guard in July 2018 and last served as an Electrician's Mate Second Class. A spokesperson told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the agency is working with the Atlanta Police Department and local authorities in the investigation.

All five victims were adult women, but it is not yet clear why they were shot, said Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum Wednesday afternoon.

One of them, Amy St. Pierre, was pronounced dead at the scene. The 39 year-old was an employee for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The four other women, ages 71, 56, 39 and 25, were rushed to Grady Memorial Hospital, where three of them are currently in the intensive care unit and the fourth was said to be in stable condition. Shooting victims entering the hospital is a very common occurrence, Grady's Chief Medical Officer Robert Jansen said Thursday. The victims were identified according to court documents, as Lisa Glynn, Georgette Whitlow, Jazzmin Daniel and Alesha Hollinger. Police said that Whitlow was shot in the arm, Glynn was shot in the abdomen, Daniel was hit multiple times in the abdomen area and Hollinger was shot in the face.

About an hour after law enforcement agencies flooded the deadly scene, authorities announced that no suspect was in custody and that it was an “active, fluid situation,” leaving many metro Atlanta residents on pins and needles. 

Patterson had stolen a white Toyota pickup truck that had been left unattended with the engine running at a nearby gas station, according to Hampton, Atlanta police's deputy chief.

The reported carjacking left police on a frenzied hunt for the truck they believed to be stolen by Patterson. It was spotted around 2 p.m. by cameras from the Department of Transportation in Cobb County, about 10 miles northwest of downtown. 

A license plate reader eventually located the truck in the area of the Battery Atlanta, which is a huge entertainment and dining venue surrounding Truist Park, where Atlanta’s professional baseball team plays.

The truck was soon discovered abandoned in a nearby parking garage, leading helicopters and officers to search over several locations around the area.

Police were able to identify Patterson through surveillance photos from the medical facility, which they released to the public, urging anyone with information about his whereabouts to call 911.

As calls poured in from numerous people who believed they had seen Patterson, 911 operators navigated through them to determine which sightings appeared legitimate.

“It was a fairly chaotic scene,” Cobb Police Chief Stuart VanHoozer said during a press conference following Patterson’s arrest.

“We were being called to various locations in that area about what appeared to be legitimate sightings of this individual.”

VanHoozer said that the public’s tips and technology played a vital role in tracking Patterson’s movements. He added that they were able to get “the precise location” of a building Patterson walked into by obtaining camera feeds through similar programs used in Cobb and Atlanta that allow businesses and citizens to register their cameras to be utilized in emergency situations.

Less than a mile away from the parking garage, police tracked down Patterson at the Waterford Place condominiums at around 7:30 p.m. A video obtained by Channel 2 Action News shows Patterson on his knees and with his hands on the ground as armed officers line up behind him near the community’s pool. He is then shown lying face down on the grass as U.S. Marshalls slowly approach him and put him into handcuffs.

The shooting is the latest ramification of gun violence that has been wrecking cities across the nation in 2023.

Wednesday’s shooting marks the 190th in the U.S. this year that left four or more people wounded or killed, according to Gun Violence Archive, a website that tracks mass shootings.

Gun violence has escalated amongst the youngest Georgians, with at least 25 teenagers and children in the state having been shot to death since the start of 2023. The youngest victim was just two years old.

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens Dickens wrote in an open letter to the city Thursday morning, “we cannot accept mass shootings as normal in our country. We know it does not have to be this way.”

The Democrat called for national action to better treat mental health and to keep guns out of the wrong people’s hands. 

In 2022, Georgia’s Republican Governor Brian Kemp signed “constitutional carry” legislation that repealed long standing protections that had previously required people over the age of 21 to obtain a license, pursuant to a fingerprint background check, in order to be eligible to carry concealed loaded firearms in public spaces.

Follow @@Megwiththenews
Categories / Criminal, National

Read the Top 8

Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.