Skip to Content

Military veteran suspected of killing 1 woman, injuring 4 others in Atlanta medical facility is captured. Here’s how the hourslong manhunt unfolded

By Ryan Young, Gary Tuchman, Elizabeth Wolfe and Sara Smart, CNN

After a US Coast Guard veteran opened fire inside a waiting room in an Atlanta medical building Wednesday morning, killing one woman and injuring 4 others, authorities say the suspect led law enforcement on an hourslong manhunt that finally concluded when a tipster helped lead police to his location in a neighboring county.

The suspect, Deion Patterson, had a medical appointment at the Northside Medical Midtown facility and was seeking new treatment because he was dissatisfied with the care he was getting from the Department of Veterans Affairs, his mother told investigators, according to a high-level source with the Atlanta Police Department.

Patterson, 24, had served with the Coast Guard from 2018 until his discharge in January 2023, the military branch said. CNN has reached out to the VA for comment.

But while in the facility, Patterson became agitated, pulled out a handgun and began firing, the source told CNN.

Amy St. Pierre, 38, identified by the Fulton County medical examiner’s office, died on the scene as four other injured women were rushed to a nearby hospital, police said.

As law enforcement swarmed into the area, authorities say Patterson was fleeing the building on foot, then hijacking a car and escaping.

During the ensuing eight-hour search for the suspect, investigators scrambled to track Patterson as he fled into neighboring Cobb County, drawing on camera technology systems and information provided by his family, police explained.

But it was ultimately a tip that led an undercover officer to the suspect’s location Wednesday night, Cobb County Police Chief Stuart VanHoozer said.

“Technology played a huge role,” VanHoozer said. “But technology doesn’t do any good without people who are determined to capture an individual who would do something like this. And today we saw where those two things came together in an amazing way.”

Patterson is facing one count of murder and four counts of aggravated assault, according to Fulton County jail records. He is expected to make his first court appearance on Thursday.

The attack is among the just over 190 mass shootings in the United States so far this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive, which, like CNN, defines a mass shooting as one in which four or more people are shot, excluding the shooter.

Here’s how the hunt for the suspect unfolded.

Suspect fled in stolen pickup truck, police say

The attack thrust one of Atlanta’s busiest commercial centers into fear and chaos as several surrounding apartment buildings, businesses and restaurants sheltered in place as multiple law enforcement agencies descended upon the community.

Officers were first called to the scene at 12:08 p.m. ET, said Atlanta Police Department Chief Darin Schierbaum.

Annie Eaveson, who lives a block from the medical center, told CNN her apartment building was placed on lockdown as the incident unfolded.

“I saw two people taken out on stretchers. Waves of armored officers went inside in shifts almost. You can see medical professionals huddled up in offices.”

But Patterson had fled the building on foot, quickly making his way to a nearby gas station, according to Charles Hampton, Atlanta police’s Deputy Chief of Criminal Investigations.

There, a “camera network system” caught footage of the suspect stealing a pickup truck that had been left running and unattended, Hampton said. The truck’s tag was then submitted to a license plate reader system, he said.

At about 12:30 p.m., license plate readers spotted the truck in neighboring Cobb County, which is about 15 miles from the scene of the attack, the deputy chief said.

Cobb County officials were immediately notified, Hampton said, and officers there began scouring the area for the vehicle, according to VanHoozer, the Cobb County police chief.

Patterson captured in private condo complex, residents say

As the search stretched into the afternoon and evening, Cobb County law enforcement were receiving a wave of calls reporting possible sighting of the suspect, creating a “chaotic scene” as officers responded to several false alarms, VanHoozer said.

“These are massively complex investigations and information comes in so quickly,” the chief said Wednesday night. “It is so confusing and so contradicting that we find that we are often trying to go three or four different places very quickly — each seeming to be the suspect.”

Patterson was finally captured in a gated condominium complex in the county, residents told CNN.

Christy Colwell — a Waterford Place resident — said dogs barking within the complex led her to worry that the suspect could be hiding in the pool area, which includes a gazebo. She said she informed a police officer who was at the facility responding to a noise call.

“He just started running — the police officer — and said, ‘Get on the grass! Get on the grass!'” said resident Debra Sansavieri. “Suddenly about 30 police cars came flying down.”

A police crime center operator also alerted officers to a 911 call they believed was likely about the suspect, the chief said.

“We prioritized that call on the radio,” he said, adding both undercover and uniformed officers were sent to the scene.

“I believe … that an undercover officer was the one that originally saw and confronted this individual and was able to then have back-up from uniformed officers that came in and took him into custody without incident,” VanHoozer said.

VanHoozer credited the successful capture in part to recent advances in police tracking technology.

“If you rewind the hand of time four years, we probably would not be where we are today, right now,” he said.

Survivors treated at hospital as CDC mourns colleague

St. Pierre, who was killed in the attack, worked for the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the agency confirmed to CNN. The agency said in a statement that it is “deeply saddened” by the loss.

“Our hearts are with her family, friends, and colleagues as they remember her and grieve this tragic loss,” CDC spokesperson Benjamin Haynes said.

The surviving victims were brought to the nearby Grady Memorial Hospital — Atlanta’s only Level 1 trauma center.

Three of the women arrived to the hospital in critical condition and had to undergo surgery, while the fourth was in stable condition, the hospital said in a statement.

One of the critical patients needed surgery for a gunshot wound to the abdomen and the other for a wound to the arm, a hospital representative said. The third patient had suffered a gunshot wound to the face and required an interventional radiology procedure, which is used to stop bleeding by inserting catheters directly into blood vessels, the hospital said.

They were recovering in the ICU as of Wednesday evening, the hospital statement said.

The stable victim will likely not need surgery, Grady Health System Chief Medical Officer Dr. Robert Jansen said in a news conference.

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens condemned the attack as “a horrible act of gun violence” in a news conference.

“Equally horrifying is that we know that this is not unique in our country,” Dickens said, calling for increased gun control legislation.

“There’s a lot of talk about second amendment rights,” the mayor said. “We need more actions about the rights of our citizens to go about their lives — to be able to go to a doctors office, to a supermarket, to a gas station, or to their school without the threat of being gunned down.”

™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Rebekah Riess, Ben Tinker, Jillian Sykes, Haley Britzky, Christina Maxouris, Dakin Andone, Nick Valencia, Amanda Jackson, Brenda Goodman, Justin Gamble and Tina Burnside contributed to this report.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - National

Jump to comments ↓



KIFI Local News 8 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content