GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — A standoff that left drivers stuck on the interstate for hours Tuesday has finally come to an end after police said a person who had a gun on a Greyhound bus was taken into custody.
Police said the SWAT team was responding to a report of a suspect armed with a gun on the bus. According to Greyhound, the bus was on schedule 1076 headed from Norcross to New York City.
On Tuesday, Gwinnett Police said officers received a call around 9:30 a.m. of a suspicious person on the bus "acting erratic" when he took out a handgun. That's when the bus driver stopped at the entrance ramp from Indian Trail Road to I-85 north, authorities said.
A Wednesday update from police said a 23-year-old Conyers man got into an argument with another passenger. At some point, the bus driver noticed the ruckus and pulled over. When the driver asked about the situation, the man pointed a gun at him, according to police.
Passengers told Gwinnett detectives the man never prevented anyone from leaving the bus, nor did he turn the gun toward anyone else.
All 38 passengers and the driver were evacuated from the bus and no one was hurt, Gwinnett Police said. Gwinnett Police also called for a Gwinnett Transit bus and gave the passengers food and water.
"We are working closely with local authorities to ensure the safety of our passengers and driver," Greyhound previously told 11Alive in a statement.
Gwinnett Crisis Negotiators and the SWAT team had to make numerous attempts to get the suspect to come out of the bus unarmed. However, he did not comply with those commands and Gwinnett SWAT had to go onto the bus. The suspect was taken into custody and SWAT said there were no passengers on the bus at the time.
Police said the suspect was believed to be having a mental health crisis. He's now charged with aggravated assault.
"The Police Behavioral Health Unit was on scene and followed the suspect to the jail to ensure he received a mental health assessment and would be provided with available mental health resources," Gwinnett Police said in a release.
Just after noon, a public safety alert went out to phones, alarming people about traffic backups in the area due to the SWAT situation.
The incident previously had blocked all lanes of traffic on the roadway in both directions since 10 a.m. The scene was causing heavy delays, with motorists advised to detour at Beaver Ruin if they're traveling south and to detour at Jimmy Carter Boulevard if driving north. Gwinnett DOT helped with traffic management and took control of traffic lights to help the flow of traffic in the surrounding area, according to Gwinnett Police.
"Preservation of life is the top priority at Gwinnett Police. We worked with our partners at the Georgia Department of Transportation as well as the Gwinnett Department of Transportation to mitigate the traffic delays, but our ultimate priority was the safety of the community," police wrote in a statement.
Traffic started to move again when authorities fully opened the northbound lanes on I-85 around 1:45 p.m.
If anyone has any information about the case, Gwinnet Police said to call detectives at (770) 513-5300. To remain anonymous, tipsters should contact Crime Stoppers at 404-577-TIPS (8477) or online here.