ATLANTA — The Georgia Burea of Investigation has revealed a bizarre new twist in an officer-involved shooting that created chaos at Lenox Square Saturday night.
Police say an Atlanta Police Department officer shot a man pointing a gun at another man during what police initially believed was an armed robbery. The shooting happened in a parking deck near the food court and sent panic through the mall, where crowds screamed and ran.
We’ve now learned the man who was shot was not the robber.
Police say when the officer got to the scene, he saw two people holding Antonio Williams, 23, at gunpoint. Police say one of the men holding the gun, Christian Edlin, 21, refused to drop the weapon. Police say the officer fired shots at Edlin, hitting him in the arm and chest.
Witnesses told police they believed it was an armed robbery. However, a law enforcement source says investigators later learned that Williams had snatched something from Edlin and another man while at the mall, which led to the two men confronting Williams in the parking deck and drawing at least one gun.
Williams is facing charges including robbery by snatching and giving a false name to police. Edlin is also facing charges of aggravated assault, possession of a firearm and carrying a pistol without a license.
Edlin was taken to Atlanta Medical Center where he is in serious but stable condition.
Atlanta police said the officer was not injured in the incident.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is investigating and will be reviewing body camera video.
Channel 2′s Christian Jennings was at Lenox, where at least one shopper thought both parties were at fault.
“I mean, it’s unfortunate that he got shot and he really wasn’t doing anything, but at the same time, you can’t just hold somebody at gunpoint because they stole from you,” Nicole Peck said.
Some shoppers said they are nervous.
“I mean, it’s just unreal. It’s like, you can’t even come to the mall to shop anymore, you know?” Tenaya Bailey said. “You just want to come here, spend some money and you’ve got to watch your back.”
Reports of gunshots quickly traveled inside the mall, where chaos ensued.
Twitter users reported hearing gunshots and seeing people running and screaming. Shoppers reported taking cover inside stores.
On Saturday night, Channel 2′s Michael Seiden talked with a security guard who filmed video of the panicked crowd.
August Sharp said he was in the food court when he heard a loud commotion.
“I’m in the food court, eating my food, and I look upstairs and people are running. And so now, gunshots. Boom! Boom!” Sharp said. “Kids, fathers holding their kids’ hands. Everyone screaming. Everyone jumping on each other.”
Channel 2′s Lauren Davis talked to a shopper who dove for cover when she heard about the shooting. Lana Gonzalez was working at the Mac makeup counter when panic broke out.
“Everyone starts running, and we get on the back of the floor stockroom and wait until everything calms down,” Gonzalez said.
She said she went out to the parking deck and what she saw was alarming.
“We ran outside to the parking lot and heard officers screaming that someone got shot,” Gonzalez said.
This isn’t the first shooting at Lenox Square. There was one back in December 2019 where a Macy’s employee was shot during a robbery in the parking deck. One suspect in that robbery is still on the run.
Gonzalez said violent incidents are happening at the mall way too often.
“I feel like if this keeps happening, they need to do something to stop people coming,” Gonzalez said. “Coming to the mall to work, it doesn’t seem like a safe place at all.”