One Dead After Rush-Hour Hijacking of Commuter Bus in Atlanta


One person is dead after a gunman hijacked a commuter bus in Atlanta on Tuesday with 17 passengers aboard, leading police on a miles-long, rush-hour chase that spanned several counties, officials said.

At a news conference on Tuesday, Darin Schierbaum, chief of the Atlanta Police Department, said that the suspect, Joseph Grier, 39, was taken into custody. The police did not release the name of the victim, who they said later died in a hospital from an apparent gunshot wound.

At about 4:35 p.m., a 9-1-1 call was made about a hostage situation in downtown Atlanta and possible gunfire aboard a commuter bus, Chief Schierbaum said. When officers arrived and confronted the suspect, the bus fled, leading police in a rush-hour chase, according to the police. The chase traversed Fulton, Gwinnett and DeKalb Counties, according to local news reports. The bus driver was held at gunpoint, Mayor Andre Dickens of Atlanta said during the news conference.

As the police chase ensued, a second 9-1-1 call came from a family member of a bus passenger saying that the vehicle had been hijacked and that the passengers were being held hostage. A third 9-1-1 call came from inside the bus, Chief Schierbaum said, and the line remained open throughout the chase.

The information from that call was shared with the Atlanta Police Department, Georgia State Patrol and agencies in Gwinnett and DeKalb Counties and helped bring an end to the chase, Chief Schierbaum said.

The bus, identified in news reports as a Gwinnett County Transit bus, had 17 people onboard, including the driver, Chief Schierbaum said. According to a news release, officers clearing the bus found an adult victim with a gunshot wound in critical condition. The victim was transported to a hospital and died.

No other injuries have been reported, authorities said.

The gunman, whose last known address was in Stone Mountain, Ga., is a felon with 19 prior arrests and should not have had a firearm, Chief Schierbaum said.

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