‘I’ve been off my medication:’ Bus hijacking suspect spoke to Channel 2 moments before shooting

ATLANTA — On Wednesday, Channel 2 Action News uncovered a connection between two major events in metro Atlanta: a mass shooting in a downtown Atlanta food court and bus hijacking, chase and murder that spanned three counties.

Joseph Grier, the 39-year-old suspect in the bus hijacking, was a witness on the scene of the shooting just moments before.

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He spoke with reporters and admitted that he was not taking his medication.

“I’m bipolar. Imma tell you that, and I’ve been off my medication for like two weeks,” Grier said.

Minutes later, Grier got into an argument as he got onto Ernst Antoine’s Gwinnett County transit bus. Investigators say Grier shot a passenger, Ernest Byrd, in the leg and killed him before hijacking the bus and starting an hours-long chase with police.

“Two hours to him, it was like a lifetime,” Keren Antoine said of her father’s experience driving the bus.


Keren Antoine said the shooting happened right after Grier boarded the bus. Then, he turned to her father and forced him to speed, weave through vehicles and not stop.

“It was at that moment that he gave instructions to my dad to drive, drive, and drive,” she described.

She says her dad’s priority was the people on board.

“His main priority was the people,” she said. “Whether he lived or died, his job was to make sure that these people got back home safely.”

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