Police say gunman injured three people at Atlanta food court before being shot by officer

ATLANTA (AP) — A gunman shot and killed three people at a downtown Atlanta eatery before he was shot and killed by a police officer Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.

Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum expects all four people who were shot in the Peachtree Center food court, including the suspect, to survive.

During a press conference, Mayor Andre Dickens praised the officer who responded, injuring the gunman.

“If he hadn’t been there, the situation could have gotten worse,” Dickens said.

Peachtree Center is a complex of high-rise office buildings and an underground shopping mall located within blocks of several hotels serving Atlanta’s busy convention business.

Schierbaum added that the shooting occurred around 2:15 p.m.

Schierbaum said the three people shot by the suspect were a 47-year-old Grayson man, a 69-year-old East Point woman and a 70-year-old Atlanta woman.

The suspect, a 34-year-old man from Morrow, south of Atlanta, got into a “brief argument” with one of the victims before pulling out a gun and shooting the person, Schierbaum said. He then shot two other people.

The mayor said all four people were taken to hospital and two were in critical condition.

An off-duty Atlanta police officer who worked as a security guard at a food court attacked a man, then shot and injured him. The officer “acted decisively, put himself in harm’s way and ended the threat to the community,” Schierbaum said.

The suspect had been arrested multiple times and served time for armed robbery. Schierbaum said he should not have owned the gun due to his prior felony conviction.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is investigating the shooting, which is standard practice in the state when a police officer shoots someone.

In the aftermath of the shooting, crowds of people gathered at a nearby intersection, with many asking each other what happened. Several blocks of Peachtree Street were cordoned off when police and firefighters arrived on the scene.

Elizabeth Ingram of Atlanta was leaving the break room of the Chick-fil-A where she works when she heard the first shots nearby.

“We rested for a while and then we heard more shots,” she said. “So we went straight downstairs.”

Ingram said she saw people being wheeled away on gurneys.

“You never know what might happen,” she said. “It just happened out of nowhere. It was so terrifying that I thought I would never make it home to my son, and it terrified me. My heart was beating so fast.”

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