ATLANTA (NEXSTAR) — Police say they have apprehended a man who allegedly opened fire inside the waiting room of an Atlanta medical facility, killing one woman and injuring four others Wednesday afternoon.
The man accused of shooting the five victims fled the scene in Midtown Atlanta, sparking an hourslong manhunt as authorities combed the busy neighborhood.
Police announced Wednesday evening that they had captured the suspect, identified as 24-year-old Deion Patterson.
Atlanta police responded to a Northside Hospital Medical building on West Peachtree Street, between 12th and 13th Streets, just after noon. Patterson had an appointment at the medical practice and shortly after arriving shot the first victim, law enforcement officials said at a news conference Wednesday night.
Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum said a 39-year-old woman was pronounced dead at the scene of the shooting.
The other victims were taken to a separate hospital, Grady Memorial Hospital, which has Atlanta’s only nationally verified Level 1 trauma center. Grady Memorial is just 3 miles south of Northside.
The hospital told Nexstar Wednesday evening that three of the patients were in critical condition and are now in the intensive care unit after undergoing surgery. The fourth victim, who is in stable condition, remains in the trauma center.
Shierbaum said the ages of the four injured victims, also women, are 25, 39, 56, and 71.
The department swiftly released photos of Patterson in an effort to locate him, warning the public that he was believed to be armed and dangerous. Authorities said Wednesday night that Patterson left the facility on foot and stole a vehicle from a nearby gas station.
After getting information that the shooter may have entered Cobb County, investigators checked surveillance and traffic cameras, and found that the vehicle that appeared to be the truck Patterson was driving had entered Cobb County around 12:30 p.m., Cobb County police Sgt. Wayne Delk said.
That discovery set off a massive search in the county just northwest of Atlanta.
Delk said Atlanta police recovered the vehicle in a parking garage near the Battery, a mixed-use development which is next to the stadium where the Atlanta Braves play.
An undercover officer was first to make contact with Patterson, according to authorities. Additional officers then moved in and Patterson was taken into custody without incident.
Patterson’s mother, Minyone Patterson, told The Associated Press by phone that her son, a former Coast Guardsman, had “some mental instability going on” from medication he received from the Veterans Affairs health system that he began taking on Friday. She said she didn’t know where her son was.
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.
In a statement, the U.S. Coast Guard said Patterson had joined the service in 2018 and was discharged from active duty in January. He was an electrician’s mate second class at the time.
The Associated Press contributed to this report; this is a developing story.