1 dead after bus hijacked at gunpoint in downtown Atlanta; suspect in custody

Hijacked bus

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — One person was killed after a man hijacked a bus in downtown Atlanta and led police on a chase through two suburban counties, authorities said.

Joseph Grier, 29, of Stone Mountain, Georgia, is accused of hijacking the Gwinnett County transit bus at about 4:30 p.m. EDT with 17 people, including the driver, on board, WSB-TV reported. Police said Grier held a gun to the bus driver’s head.

According to the Atlanta Police Department, officers responded after receiving at least three 911 calls regarding a “possible hostage situation” on the bus at 45 Ivan Allen Jr. Boulevard, the television station reported.

“It was that information that our call takers and dispatchers were hearing that was fed initially to the Atlanta Police Department, and then to the Georgia State Patrol, and then our partners at Gwinnett and DeKalb County to craft an end to this hostage situation,” Atlanta Police Department Chief Darin Scheirbaum said during a news conference.

The bus traveled on Interstate 85 from downtown Atlanta northeast into Gwinnett County, where it exited on Jimmy Carter Boulevard in Norcross, WSB reported.

The vehicle then traveled south along Hugh Howell Road before it stopped just east of Tucker, according to the television station.

According to DeKalb County police, passengers began exiting the bus once it came to a stop. Officers entering the vehicle discovered a person who had been shot, WSB reported.

The victim was transported to an area hospital where they died, Atlanta police said during the news conference. The name of the victim has not yet been released, pending next-of-kin notification.

Scheirbaum said that Greer had been arrested 19 times before Tuesday and was a convicted felon, according to the television station.

The bus hijacking and subsequent shooting marked the second incident in the Atlanta area on Tuesday.

Earlier, four people were injured in a shooting at a food court in downtown Atlanta, according to WSB-TV.

Schierbaum said that Grier boarded the bus near the food court but was not involved in that shooting.

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens condemned the gun violence in the city, stating it was the “result of too many people having guns in their hands.”

“We all have to say enough is enough when it comes to too many people having guns in their hands and using them in violence,” Dickens told reporters. “I’m thankful for the men and women of the Atlanta Police Department and all these agencies here that minimized what could have been even more dangerous.”

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