Gwinnett County bus hijacking suspect at downtown shooting, incidents unrelated

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens and Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum addressed two shooting incidents on Tuesday afternoon in metro Atlanta during a press conference on Wednesday morning.

In the first incident, a man entered a food court at Peachtree Center in downtown Atlanta and shot three people. He was then shot by an off-duty Atlanta Zone 1 police officer.

In the second incident, a man boarded a Gwinnett County Transit bus and shot a passenger before forcing the bus driver to lead police on a 45-minute chase across at least two counties. The bus was eventually stopped, and the hijacker was taken into custody. Unfortunately, the passenger who was shot died. No other passengers were injured.

Both shooters, 34-year-old Jeremy Malone and 39-year-old Joseph Grier, are convicted felons, according to officials. Additionally, both may have been experiencing a mental health crisis during the shootings.

Malone, the suspect in the Peachtree Center shooting, reportedly began shooting after a "mild brush up" with the first person he shot. He then shot two older women, who are sisters, before he was shot by the police officer. Mayor Dickens says that this unexplained shooting may be an indicator that the shooter suffers from some sort of mental health challenge. 


Jeremy Malone (Fulton County Sheriff's Office)

Grier, the suspect in the bus shooting and hijacking, was apparently in the area during the downtown incident and may have been triggered by sirens and what he saw, according to Mayor Dickens. Grier reportedly told people on the bus multiple times that he was bipolar. Additionally, Grier made statements to other members of the press in the area about his mental issues. FOX 5 Atlanta did capture video of him on the scene. 


Joseph Grier (Fulton County Sheriff's Office)

Chief Schierbaum stressed during the press conference that, despite Grier's presence in the downtown area, there is no connection between the two shooters. He said that the Atlanta Police Department and the FBI have thoroughly investigated and found no connection.

Mayor Dickens emphasized the need for the county and the state to address mental and physical health issues for Atlanta residents. He also called for proper sentencing in court. Both Dickens and Schierbaum highlighted that both men are convicted felons who have been arrested multiple times but were still able to obtain handguns.

Dickens also mentioned that the Violent Repeat Offender Commission would meet today to discuss recent events. The commission, which includes judges, prosecutors, community leaders, and law enforcement, meets regularly at the Public Safety headquarters.

Dickens noted that while Atlanta has seen a two-year reduction in the number of repeat offenders, the rate is "still way too high." He stressed that repeat offenders either need assistance through court-mandated programs for drug addiction and mental health or need to be removed from circulation.

It was also mentioned during the press conference that workers in the food court shielded patrons from bullets.

The three people who were shot at the food court are expected to fully recover. The condition of the suspected shooter, Malone, is unknown.