HISTORY OF @WSBTV: Snowmageddon, APS cheating scandal and much more

ATLANTA — As we reach a new social media milestone here at Channel 2 Action News – passing 1 million followers on Twitter! -- we take a look back at some of the biggest stories we’ve covered since establishing the @wsbtv Twitter account.


In case you haven’t been with us since the beginning, we sent out our very first tweet in 2009.

One of the biggest stories that happened that year were the epic floods that hit the metro area. For a full week in mid-September, 2009, tropical moisture led to isolated flash flooding across the metro area.

An estimated 300 roads were flooded and closed, including both lanes of Interstate 20 west of Atlanta, Interstate 575 at Highway 92, and the Stone Mountain Freeway.

More than a dozen counties were declared disaster areas and eligible for public assistance from FEMA. Ten people lost their lives, most them died while driving at night.


The next year brought the beginning of a story that not only captivated the metro area, but also gained national attention: the murder of Rusty Sneiderman.

Sneiderman was gunned down outside his children’s Dunwoody day care. The man behind the gun – Hemy Neuman – was said to be having an affair with Rusty’s wife Andrea.


A year later was one metro Atlantans won’t soon forget…

2011 began in with a heck of a snow storm, which was dubbed "Snomageddon 2011."

The storm crippled transportation across the metro, with its affects rippling across the country because no one could leave Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

In March 2011, a man shot and killed an Athens-Clarke County police officer.

Jamie Hood went on the run and was eventually found holed-up in a home, with several hostages. After hours of negotiations, Hood surrendered to police on live TV – actually in the middle of the Channel 2 Action News Nightbeat at 11 p.m.

In July 2011, Atlanta Public School was thrust into the national spotlight when an 800-page report was released, implicating 178 teachers and administrators in a massive cheating scandal, saying an investigation found cheating on the state CRCT exam throughout the district.

In December 2011, the search for a missing 7-year-old girl came to a tragic end.

Jorelys Rivera had been missing for several days. Then word came that the girl’s body had been found.

Police arrested Ryan Brunn, 20, a maintenance worker at the family's apartment complex, charging him with the girl's murder. He pleaded guilty in her death and a couple days later, he hung himself in his prison cell.


In August 2012, Andrea Sneiderman was indicted in her husband's death on charges of murder, attempted murder, racketeering, insurance fraud, two counts of perjury and two counts of making false statements. A jury would later find her guilty of nine of 13 felony counts, including perjury and making false statements to police. The judge would sentence her to 5 years in prison, including time served.

In November of that year, as Superstorm Sandy dumped massive amounts of rain across the northern part of the country, the storm brought high winds the metro area, downing trees and power lines.

A massive branch fell at a daycare in Winder, hitting then 2-year-old Tripp Halstead in the head, severely injuring him. His journey through recovery caught the internet by storm and still remains a social media superstorm, inspiring other across the world as his family shares their continued journey.

Also in November 2012, two Atlanta police officers were tracking some suspects near the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Hamilton E. Holmes Drive when the helicopter got tangled in powerlines and crashed, killing both officers onboard.


The following year, 2013, started with intense storms, leaving the city of Adairsville devastated when a tornado hit the community in January. Channel 2's Ross Cavitt caught video of the funnel cloud that swept through that day.

A new era for the Atlanta Falcons came in March, with the announcement that a new home was going to be built for the team next to the Georgia Dome, set to open in time for their 2017 season.

In June 2013, after months of investigation, DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis was indicted on corruption charges. Ellis' first trial would end in a mistrial in 2014.

Then prosecutors would try him again in 2015, with a jury convicting Ellis of perjury for lying to a special purpose grand jury and of attempted extortion for meddling with a vendor's contract after that vendor refused to give him a campaign contribution. In Nov. 2016, the Georgia Supreme Court would overturn that conviction saying a special grand juror should not have been allowed to give his opinion about how relevant Ellis' statements were to their investigation.

The next day, on Aug. 20, 2013, a gunman would walk into the office of McNair High School, armed with multiple guns.

Michael Brandon Hill opened fire on officers responding the school after police said he went into the main office and fired off shots there. One of the office workers would end up calling the Channel 2 Action News newsroom and speaking to an assignment editor, at the request of the gunman.

Police were able to arrest Hill with no one getting hurt.


January 2014 brought another round of nasty weather to the metro area, again in the form of snow.

Snowmageddon 2014 wreaked havoc on metro roadways, leaving people stranded on metro interstates for upwards of 24 hours.

Channel 2 Action News stayed on the air for hours on end as transportation crews worked to clear the roads. We sent our army of reporters out to cover every angle of the storm, which brought about the now-infamous “25 box” of reporters.

Also in January, word would come on a quiet weekend that the daughter of Bobby Brown and the late-Whitney Houston, was found unconscious, face-down in the bathtub of her Roswell home. Bobbi Kristina Brown would be put on life-support for months on end, until July 2015, when she passes away.

In April 2015, the end of the APS Cheating Scandal finally arrived. After months of tribunals and plea bargains, a final round of 12 educators would go to trial in the scandal, with a jury convicting 11 of the 12 educators.

Fast forward to June of that year, and the world would learn of the tragic death of Cooper Harris. The toddler was left in the back of his father's SUV four hours on a hot June day, and died.

His father, Ross Harris, would be charged and convicted in the toddler’s death. The trial quickly gained national attention.

In July, as the battle against the deadly disease Ebola came to a fever pitch, word came from health officials that two Americans had contracted the disease while overseas on missionary work.

The two would be brought to Emory Hospital in DeKalb County where they would recover from the disease.

In September, the Atlanta Braves announced they were moving out of downtown and would be building a brand-new stadium on the edge of Cobb County, along with an entertainment district that would lead the way into the ball park.

In November 2015, racial tension across the country came to a head after a police officer shot an unarmed man in Ferguson, Missouri.  Atlanta joined several other cities across the country that had people marching in protest over what would become a series of shootings of unarmed black men.


In August 2016, the man accused of physically killing Rusty Sneiderman, Hemy Neuman, was found guilty of murder after nearly 6 years.

In November 2016, after a trial that lasted several weeks, Ross Harris was found guilty in the death of his son Cooper, more than 2 years after the child's death.


So far 2017 has brought several big stories to metro Atlanta.

We cheered our Atlanta Falcons through the playoffs and all the way to the Super Bowl. It was a fun ride that just didn't end the way we would have liked. There's always next year…

On the evening of March 30, a massive plume of black smoke started to emerge from under the Interstate 85 overpass that stretched across Piedmont Road.

As the fire raged on, the overpass would eventually collapse, paralyzing Atlanta-area roadways for the 6 weeks it would take crews to build a new overpass bridge.

In June, as a prison transport bus was driving through Putnam County, two inmates would manage to make their way through the secured area of the bus, killing two corrections officers. The men would then lead police on a two-day manhunt, eventually being found in Tennessee.

And as we make our way through the month of July, just last week a man would hold police on a standoff for hours at a Cobb County bank. The suspect would end up calling the Channel 2 Action News newsroom, telling one of our assignment editors he was a homeless Marine veteran, that he was unhappy with his experiences with the VA and had no money to buy food or water.

Police said a member of the tactical team would end up shooting the man, to end the situation.

Twitter remains one of the fastest ways Channel 2 Action News distributes the metro-area’s news.

We thank the 1 million users who have followed us over the last 8 years and look forward to bringing the latest headlines and breaking news to the next 1 million followers!