Dozens of officers from several law enforcement agencies swarmed Midtown Atlanta on Wednesday, searching for a gunman who opened fire in a medical office building, killing one and injuring four others, the authorities said.
The gunman, identified as Deion Patterson, 24, stole a vehicle afterward and fled, the Atlanta Police Department said. He left the surrounding area and remained at large late Wednesday afternoon, the authorities said.
Darin Schierbaum, Atlanta’s chief of police, said at a news conference that officers responded to 1100 West Peachtree Street Northwest in Midtown Atlanta just after noon after the gunman fired shots inside a waiting room on the 11th floor of a Northside Hospital medical office, killing a 39-year-old woman and injuring four others. All of the victims were women, Chief Schierbaum said.
The police were searching in Atlanta as well as in neighboring Cobb County. The Cobb County Police Department said on Twitter that it was searching in the Vinings, Cumberland and Truist Park areas.
“We are following credible leads that are currently active in Cobb County, as well as some that are right here in the city,” Chief Schierbaum said, adding that the gunman’s family was cooperating with the investigation.
Three of the surviving victims were in critical condition, Robert Jansen, the chief medical officer at Grady Memorial Hospital, said at a news conference. One of them was still in surgery as of Wednesday afternoon, he said. Chief Schierbaum said the four injured women were 71, 56, 39 and 25.
The hospital added, “This tragedy is affecting all of us, and we ask for patience and prayers at this time.”
Midtown Atlanta, a dense urban district typically bustling with office workers and Georgia Tech students, fell to a hush Wednesday afternoon as word spread that a shooting had taken place and a gunman was at large. Several schools went into lockdown and held students past the usual dismissal time. Roads were blocked and the police warned people to stay away from the area.
By 3 p.m., sidewalks and streets were almost entirely vacant, save for police cars and heavily armed officers — and restaurant patrons or residents poking their heads out of windows and doorways to take in the scene.
The police shared initial images from security cameras inside the building that showed a man, whom they later identified as Mr. Patterson, wearing a mask, a gray hooded sweatshirt, dark pants and a cross-body bag.
Dr. Janson said that Grady Memorial Hospital, a trauma center, activated its mass casualty event protocol and initially anticipated 12 patients. They later stopped the protocol.
State Senator Josh McLaurin was eating lunch next door to Northside Medical at Pasta da Pulcinella when patrons began murmuring about the shooting. The restaurant’s management locked the door, and some diners rushed to the windows to peer outside, he said. The fascination concerned but did not surprise him, said Mr. McLaurin, a Democrat, given the proliferation of gun violence across the United States.
David and Robin Shipple were at the Northside Healthcare facility for a doctor’s appointment when staff members alerted them to the shooting. They sheltered in place for about 20 minutes before law enforcement officers barged in “with machine guns,” Mr. Shipple said.
“You always see it in the news,” he said, “but don’t think you’re going to get caught up in something like this.”
Sean Keenan contributed reporting.