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5 teens shot near Centennial Olympic Park

Police said two of the wounded teens carjacked a parking valet and then drove themselves to a hospital.

ATLANTA — Five teenagers were shot outside Waffle House at Centennial Olympic Park Saturday night as tourists and others crowded the streets in Downtown Atlanta.

According to Dep. Chief Timothy Peek with the Atlanta Police Department, they ranged from 15 to 19 -- two female and three males. They said they found three people on the scene, and two of the males carjacked a valet attendant at gunpoint and drove themselves to the hospital.

Police believe it started outside the Waffle House in the area of Centennial Olympic Park Drive NW and John Portman Boulevard. 

It happened as nearly 20,000 youth from across the country are in Atlanta attending the DECA International Development Conference at the Georgia World Congress Center near the site of the shooting.

Dep. Peek said investigators are still working to sort out who shot whom and said all are expected to survive their gunshot wounds. 

"At this time, it appears the incident may have occurred following a dispute between two group of individuals which escalated to the gunfire," police said in a statement Sunday morning. "Detectives are working to determine the circumstances surrounding the shooting."

Three weapons and the stolen vehicle were all recovered. The two teens who stole the vehicle and drove it to the hospital are now charged with "Hijacking Motor Vehicle," police said

"The investigators are certainly still working and turning over every leaf to determine what happened," Peek said. "All individuals, thus far, have been identified, of course, based off of the area surveillance. We’ll look to see who else we can identify that may have had some involvement with this shooting."

Young people participating in the DECA conference, who were across the street at the Olympic Rings, heard the gunfire and dove for cover, one of their chaperones, Wayne Mason of Denver, Colorado, said.

"I was afraid for our students, didn't want them to get hurt," Mason said. "I don’t understand it. It’s just, I don’t understand it. It's just random violence, and it's everywhere." 

Alex Vargas, a tourist in Atlanta travelling with his 3-year-old child and his fiancée, said they had just left their hotel to go to the Waffle House and arrived moments after police began converging there.

"It’s nuts, right? You’re going out to eat with your three year old and your fiancée and you’re walking through a crime scene. I’m going back to my hotel. So this is crazy. It can happen, you know, in the blink of an eye. You just don’t know. So that’s kind of scary. But it is what it is in the world we live in today, I guess, you know?"

DeMarcus and Akeer Murphy of Atlanta were across the street during the gunfire, and said police swarmed the scene.

"It was kind of alarming," DeMarcus Akeer said Sunday morning. 

He and his wife later found out that five teens had been shot and wounded.

"We need more parents to be more responsible for their kids," he said. "‘Cause we got to stay involved with our kids and things like this might not take place as often."

He took a breath, as the couple, standing at the Waffle House entrance, looked down and saw there was blood still on the sidewalk from the shooting.

"This is Atlanta, you gotta stay safe," he said, shaking his head. 

This is a developing story. 11Alive will provide updates as details become available. 

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