Atlanta police say a man was shot and killed at Lenox Square on Sunday night during a fight over a parking space.
The shooting happened in the parking lot outside the Cheesecake Factory around 6 p.m.
Atlanta police Maj. Andrew Senzer said that two groups of people were in two different vehicles in the parking lot and got into an argument over a parking space.
Both groups went inside the mall, but they started arguing again later when they came back outside. Police said someone pulled a gun and shot the victim in the head.
The victim is described as “approximately 25 years old," Senzer said. His identity has not been released pending notification of family.
Police said the four suspects immediately got into a vehicle and tried to drive off but crashed while still in the parking lot. The suspects then ran from the scene.
An off-duty Cobb County police office detained one person, but later released him Monday after authorities determined he was not responsible for the shooting.
Authorities are still searching for the suspects.
Homicide investigators were at the scene Sunday night. Multiple Atlanta Police Department vehicles were at the mall, and yellow tape surrounded a parking lot.
Shoppers watched as the victim laid on the ground, dead.
Channel 2′s Audrey Washington went to the mall, where people reported being on lockdown on social media. Senzer said some witnesses were detained. Police said they are also reviewing security footage.
Gino Vowin saw the actual shooting and the chaos that followed.
“We saw a gentleman standing with a gun, and then shots fired,” Vowin said. “And then it kind of went hectic. We were just having dinner at the Cheesecake Factory and all you see are cop cars pulling up."
This is the fourth shooting at the mall in four months and the first to leave someone dead.
On Feb. 10, a man was shot in the stomach after a group met for a “prearranged sale” at the food court.
A man was shot by a police officer in a parking deck Jan. 18 during a robbery. Police said the man who was shot was actually a friend of the robbery victim but wouldn’t put down his weapon. The robber was arrested. Both men were charged.
On Dec. 20, 2019, two men robbed and shot a mall employee as she walked to her car in the parking garage.
Senzer said the shootings are happening despite regular police presence at the mall.
“These are brazen acts that are being committed within the presence of law enforcement officers,” Senzer said. “We’re going to continue to work with mall security to ensure we’re providing the process to where we can take back the space.”
Senzer described the shootings as “senseless tragedies.”
Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields released a statement regarding the killing:
“Sunday’s fatal shooting at Lenox Square continues to show a level of brazenness and disregard for the law that is deeply concerning. These violent acts are happening in broad daylight, and with increased police presence already in place at the mall. Prior to Sunday’s incident, we had met with Simon Property Group (managers of Lenox Square) representatives in an effort to improve security. Some positive steps were taken, but more needs to be done. Simon’s involvement in developing a comprehensive approach to security is critical to our success. Department leaders will be meeting again this afternoon to determine what further resources APD can provide to assist in providing more presence at the mall. We will not, under any circumstances, allow lawlessness to destroy one of Atlanta’s most beloved and long-standing retail institutions. APD has made arrests in all three previous shootings that have occurred on mall property since December, and I’m confident an arrest will be made in Sunday’s murder. These incidents have our full attention.”
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