ATLANTA — Atlanta police say they arrested a man who brought multiple guns into the Publix grocery store at Atlantic Station Wednesday afternoon.
There’s no report of him pointing the weapons or using the weapons at all before police arrived.
Investigators say the man, identified as Rico Marley, 22, walked into the store just after 1:30 p.m. holding a rifle. He then went into the bathroom.
It comes just days after 10 people were shot and killed inside a Colorado grocery store.
What could have happened, though, is fresh on the mind of the man who may have prevented a massacre.
“It possibly could have stopped something,” said Charles Russell, who saw the armed man inside of a Publix bathroom and alerted employees and police.
“I saw an AR-15. And I was like, you know, this kind of startled me just again with events that recently happened in the grocery store up in Colorado,” Russell said.
Channel 2′s Matt Johnson obtained information of the six guns and ammo found on the suspect, who also wore body armor when police arrived.
Police did not say what they believe Marley intended to do with the arsenal of weapons at the store.
Russell fears there could have been another mass shooting.
“To be able to stop it, if it were going to be something, that’s what I cared about as it progressed,” Russell said.
Russell said he didn’t say anything to the man in the bathroom when he saw him. He said the man didn’t make an attempt to hide the AR-15.
“The weapon was leaned up in the stall of the bathroom, and it was not in a case. I saw it clear as day. I just took my time to report it,” Russell said.
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While police were still investigating, the bomb squad arrived to look into a suspicious package. Atlantic Station partially shut down its shopping district streets and the parking deck until it was clear.
Marley was taken for a mental health evaluation before police took him to the Fulton County Jail.
Russell said he can’t think of a reason why anyone would be so heavily armed in public.
“I don’t want to still see those out in public places anymore,” Russell said.
Marley is facing charges of: 6 counts of Possession of Firearm or Knife During a Commission of or Attempt to Commit Certain Felonies and 5 counts of Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony.
Publix released a statement, saying, in part:
“At Publix, the safety of our associates and customers is our priority. We are cooperating with local law enforcement on an incident that occurred earlier today in our Atlantic Station store. We are thankful that there were no injuries, and all were able to exit the store safely.”
Johnson looked into Marley’s background and learned he has a criminal record out of DeKalb County from three years ago for a simple assault charge that was dismissed on a technicality.
Marley had a weapons carry license on him Wednesday. We don’t know about his state of mind when he had all those weapons.
Cox Media Group