ATLANTA — Two 15-year-olds have been charged in the shooting at a popular Buckhead shopping area on Sunday evening that left a security guard with critical injuries, police said.
Authorities confirmed that officers were called to 3393 Peachtree Road - the address of Lenox Square mall - to reports of shots fired at around 8:30 p.m. Upon arrival, officers found the victim, a security guard in his early 40s, who had been shot in the torso. They were able to provide aid to the guard before he was taken to the hospital for treatment.
After the shooting, police searched the area and, with help from witness statements, eventually found the two suspects outside the nearby Westin Buckhead Atlanta hotel. While they believe there may be more suspects, Deputy Chief Timothy Peek said the two caught appear to have been directly connected to the incident.
The two suspects who were detained near the scene, a boy and a girl, were arrested and are charged with:
- Criminal Attempt to Commit Murder.
- Armed Robbery
- Aggravated Assault
- Tampering with Evidence
- Possession of a Firearm by a Person Under the Age of 18 Years
- Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony
"We don't know the involvement of other folks but we have based at this particular point in time, we were able to confirm that those two individuals were significantly involved and those are the two we have in custody," Peek said.
Meanwhile, police are trying to piece together what exactly happened in the moments leading up to the shooting.
Authorities stressed in a Monday afternoon press conference that the investigation is not over and they are looking into who else may be involved.
The teenagers were detained in less than 10 minutes after the incident happened, authorities said.
"Ultimately, they approached him with a gun, and so, from there, will tell us what transpired and what was going on," Peek said. Authorities believe they were trying to get into the closed Apple store.
He added they were also able to recover firearms. He said there were no other reported injuries in the incident.
The incident comes as Atlanta continues to work on tackling a crime spike across the city. It also follows a push by some in the community who want to see Buckhead split off into its own city - at least in part due to the rising crime in that area.
However, Peek said that the implementation of their current summer action plan to handle the crime spike is one major reason they were able to respond quickly.
"It gave us a multitude of police units in the actual footprint; so, immediately as this situation began to unfold, we were able to get a significant number of police officers in the area," he said. "Dozens of officers were able to respond and that ultimately gave us the ability to get that information as well as conduct those grid searches to locate where those individuals were."