1 person is dead and a suspect is in custody after hijacked commuter bus led authorities on chase, Atlanta police say

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One dead and suspect in custody after hijacked commuter bus chase, Atlanta police report

Bus Hijacking in Atlanta Ends with Suspect in Custody and One Dead


1 person is dead and a suspect is in custody after hijacked commuter bus led authorities on chase, Atlanta police say

Atlanta, Georgia — A hijacked bus led authorities on a dramatic rush hour chase through Atlanta on Tuesday, ending with the suspect in custody and one person dead from a gunshot wound. The incident began when the suspect, identified as 39-year-old Joseph Grier, allegedly held a gun to the head of the bus driver.


Incident Overview


  • Time and Location: The chaos started at approximately 4:35 p.m. in downtown Atlanta. Police responded to reports of gunfire on a Gwinnett County Transit bus.
  • The Chase: Upon police arrival, the bus, with 17 people including the driver on board, took off, leading authorities on a chase through I-85 and surface streets across multiple counties.
  • Collision and Damage: During the pursuit, the bus struck several vehicles, including a Gwinnett County police car. It's unclear if any motorists were injured.
  • End of Chase: The chase ended in Stone Mountain, a suburb of Atlanta, where the suspect was apprehended without further incident.


Victims and Casualties


  • Fatality: One person, whose identity has not been released, was found with a gunshot wound on the bus and later died at the hospital.
  • Driver's Heroism: Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum praised the bus driver as a hero for his commitment to the passengers despite the life-threatening situation. The driver, though shaken, remained uninjured.
  • Passengers: There were no reported injuries among the other passengers.


Eyewitness Accounts


  • Witness Description: Johnny Gilbert recounted his wife Paulette's experience on the bus. She described the suspect as disruptive and seemingly unstable. She called her husband, terrified, after the shooting.


Response and Investigation


  • Law Enforcement: A heavy police presence, including an armored vehicle, was seen at the scene after the bus stopped. Multiple law enforcement vehicles surrounded the bus.
  • Emergency Signals: During the chase and after the bus halted, the electronic sign on the bus displayed messages like "EMERGENCY" and "CALL POLICE 911," though the timing of these signals is unclear.


Statements and Legal Proceedings

  • Police Statement: Chief Schierbaum highlighted the bravery of the bus driver and indicated that further details would be released after notifying the family of the deceased.
  • Suspect's Status: Joseph Grier, the suspect, is a felon. It is not yet known if he has retained legal counsel.
  • Bus Service: The bus is part of the Gwinnett County Transit system, which operates routes between Gwinnett County and downtown Atlanta. Authorities are working with Gwinnett County officials as the investigation continues.

This harrowing incident underscores the unpredictable nature of public safety threats and the critical importance of quick, coordinated responses by law enforcement and transit operators.


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CRN News Update - Latest Breaking News: 1 person is dead and a suspect is in custody after hijacked commuter bus led authorities on chase, Atlanta police say
1 person is dead and a suspect is in custody after hijacked commuter bus led authorities on chase, Atlanta police say
One dead and suspect in custody after hijacked commuter bus chase, Atlanta police report
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