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A suspect in an Atlanta shooting, which killed 1 and injured 4, is in custody


Georgia law enforcement arrested a man suspected of shooting five people in an Atlanta doctor's office yesterday. One woman was killed, four others hospitalized. As NPR's Lisa Hagen reports from Atlanta, police found the suspect still armed with a handgun after an eight-hour search.

LISA HAGEN, BYLINE: Police arrested 24-year-old Deion Patterson without incident at a condominium complex in a suburb north of Atlanta on Wednesday evening. The suspected gunman allegedly opened fire in a doctor's waiting room just after noon yesterday. Police say he shot and killed a 39-year-old woman and injured another four who are recovering from serious injuries. Patterson then fled the building. He reportedly managed to steal an unattended pickup truck at a nearby gas station as law enforcement converged on the city's busy midtown area. City officials released photos of the alleged gunman within hours of the shooting, asking for tips and warning he should be considered armed and dangerous.

Halsey Knapp was returning from lunch near the medical building when he began to notice police lights flashing everywhere.

HALSEY KNAPP: I couldn't get into any building within a six-block area. I tried every place that I knew, and so I was on the street the whole time.

HAGEN: He says there was little information available as he waited out a three-hour shelter-in-place order in the area. After the arrest, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens spoke at a press conference.


ANDRE DICKENS: This was a horrible act of gun violence. But equally horrifying is that we know that this is not unique in our country.

HAGEN: Georgia's U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock said his two children were among those whose schools were on lockdown after initial reports of the shooting. Speaking on the Senate floor, he had strong words for colleagues who offer thoughts and prayers while resisting gun regulation.


RAPHAEL WARNOCK: It is a contradiction to say that you are thinking and praying and then do nothing. It is to make a mockery of prayer.

HAGEN: The alleged gunman had recently been discharged from active duty, according to a statement from the U.S. Coast Guard. Patterson had served for nearly five years. His mother told the Associated Press she believes her son was suffering from mental instability.

Lisa Hagen, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF BNMO AND BARONSKI'S "ALL THAT I GOT") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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Lisa Hagen
Lisa Hagen is a reporter at NPR, covering conspiracism and the mainstreaming of extreme or unconventional beliefs. She's interested in how people form and maintain deeply held worldviews, and decide who to trust.