Victim dead, suspect in custody after hijacked commuter bus leads Atlanta police on chase: VIDEO

ByShawn Nottingham and Nick Valencia, CNN CNNWire logo
Wednesday, June 12, 2024
Georgia police chase hijacked transit bus up interstate: VIDEO
At one point, all Interstate 85 lanes were shut down as Atlanta officers tried to figure out how to stop the bus.

ATLANTA -- A man who Atlanta police say held a gun to the head of a bus driver is in custody after the hijacked bus led authorities on a rush hour chase Tuesday, and another person found shot on the bus has now died, officials say.

Police said they will not release the identity of the person who died until family members have been notified. The suspect was identified as Joseph Grier, a 39-year-old felon, Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum said at a news conference.

CNN has not been able to determine if Grier has retained legal counsel at this time.

The chief called the bus driver "a hero" as he was in "a very dangerous situation" yet remained committed to his passengers. He noted the driver was shaken up by the "harrowing experience."

The chief said 17 people were on the bus, including the driver.

Authorities responded to a report of gunfire on a bus in downtown Atlanta at roughly 4:35 p.m Tuesday and upon arrival, the bus took off, the Atlanta Police Department said.

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Following a chase that took place on I-85 and surface streets in multiple counties, the suspect was taken into custody "without further incident," police said. Inside the bus, officers found an adult with a gunshot wound, who died at a hospital, according to police.

There were no other injuries to the people on the bus, according to authorities.

The bus hit several vehicles during the pursuit, police said. It was not immediately known whether any motorists were hurt.

A man told CNN his wife called him from the bus to say someone had been shot and she was scared.

Johnny Gilbert said his wife, Paulette Gilbert, takes the bus to and from work.

"She said the guy got on the bus and seemed kinda crazy," Gilbert said, recounting his wife's story. "He was being disruptive or getting on people's nerves," he added.

Shortly after the bus came to a stop in the suburb of Stone Mountain, one person was seen being led away in handcuffs. A police armored vehicle was parked in front of the bus and at least a dozen law enforcement vehicles were parked behind it on the street.

During at least part of the pursuit and after the bus came to a stop, aerial footage from CNN affiliate WXIA showed the electronic sign on the front of the bus reading, "EMERGENCY" and then, "CALL POLICE 911." It was not immediately clear when those words started appearing on the sign.

The bus belongs to Gwinnett County Transit, which operates commuter routes in and from the metro Atlanta county, some of which go into downtown Atlanta.

CNN has reached out to Gwinnett County but has not heard back.

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