Suspected midtown shooter was supposed to see a mental health VA doctor hours after deadly shooting

ATLANTA — The mother of the man accused of shooting five people in midtown Atlanta said he was angry that doctors wouldn’t give him Ativan, an anti-anxiety drug.

Deion Patterson, 24, is accused of opening fire in the waiting room of a Northside Hospital medical office, killing one woman and wounding four others.

Channel 2′s Ashli Lincoln learned Patterson had a mental health appointment scheduled with the Atlanta Veteran’s Affairs Hospital the day of the shooting. It was supposed to be an afternoon video visit.

[DOWNLOAD: Free WSB-TV News app for alerts as news breaks]

Documents Channel 2 Action News reviewed shows Patterson first came to the VA seeking mental health care on March 8. Two weeks later, he had an appointment with a VA doctor for the first time on March 24 via video conference. He was a no-show for an April 14 follow-up. He did meet with a VA provider for the last time on April 27. His next appointment was scheduled for the day of the shooting.

Dr. Kimball Johnson, with iResearch Atlanta, says Ativan can be very addictive for some patients.

“Benzodiazepines can have addiction and withdrawals, some people need it,” she said.


Johnson says she’s seen cases where people who are going through withdrawals have experienced anxiety, high heart rate, sweating, and impulsivity.

“You can get backed up into the corner where you have somebody that’s quite agitated, or quite anxious or panicked and you need to use these medications,” Johnson said.

The VA says they can’t comment on this case because of privacy rules.

[SIGN UP: WSB-TV Daily Headlines Newsletter]