A shooting incident occurred earlier today in Atlanta at a Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) station.
One person was killed, while three others were wounded, according to authorities, in the incident on the Blue Line.
The suspect opened fire with a handgun on board a MARTA train about 4:30 p.m. Eastern time at the Hamilton E. Holmes MARTA station just as the train pulled out of the station. Cops arrested a suspect at the next stop, the West Lake station, although some news accounts indicate that West Lake was where the shooting occurred.
“Witnesses said the suspect tried to run, but tripped, and that’s when officers were able to take him into custody,” WSB-TV Channel 2 reported about the incident in southwest Atlanta.
“Passengers said they scrambled for safety once gunshots rang out,” NBC affiliate WXIA reported.
The other victims are said to be in stable condition with non-life-threatening injuries at Grady Memorial Hospital. Authorities have yet to determine a motive for the shooting at the MARTA station. Detectives are seeking to determine if this was a random or targeted shooting. The victims, as well as the gunman, are apparently in the age-30 range, although some accounts differ on that as well.
Another passenger was apparently injured in the panic that occurred after the gunman opened fire on the train and other travelers tried to get out of the line of fire.
“Atlanta television station WGCL quoted witnesses as saying the shooter appeared to open fire randomly at train passengers,” Reuters detailed.
MARTA officials temporarily closed the station following the shooting and deployed buses to transfer passengers to other stations in the MARTA network.
“Cedric Peterson, who was on the train during the incident, said the suspect walked into the train calmly and was listening to headphones and ‘bopping his head.’ He said there was ‘no argument, no fussing,'” the Daily Mail explained.
Family members of victim Zachariah Hunnicutt, who was traveling with his girlfriend and his sister, now say that the gunman allegedly targeted him, WXIA reported in an update.
“He worked with him and they had altercations,” said one woman who said her sister was dating the victim. “It was like he was aiming at me, my sister and her boyfriend.” His girlfriend was one of the passengers wounded in the attack.
In October 2016, a shooting occurred near the Ashby MARTA station. According to a witness, a man stepped out of a black car and began shooting at another man who was sitting outside the MARTA Station. A 22-year-old man was critically shot and was rushed to Grady Memorial Hospital. One bullet cracked the windshield of a MARTA bus.
By ridership, MARTA is the eighth-largest rapid transit system in America. Originally a bus-only system when it was established in 1971, MARTA now operates a network of bus routes linked to a 48-mile high-speed rail system with 38 train stations in Atlanta and surrounding counties. It transports about 430,000 passengers every day. MARTA has its own police department, consisting of about 300 sworn officers, making it one of the largest police agencies in Georgia. MARTA police will beef up security on trains as a result of today’s shooting, UPI reported.
About two weeks ago, a fire caused a bridge to collapse on I-85 in Atlanta. The blaze destroyed about 250 feet of the bridge. Authorities say that they intended to complete the highway repairs by June 15. In the meantime, MARTA ridership is up to some degree as some commuters opt for the train as a way to avoid traffic headaches. A suspect faces an arson charge in the incident, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution detailed.
Details are still unfolding in today’s incident on the Atlanta train; the investigation is ongoing.
Watch this space for further updates about the shooting on the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority train.
[Featured Image by David Goldman/AP Images]