Three Killed, Reporter Beaten, in Atlanta Attacks

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By: E&P Staff

A judge, a deputy, and a court reporter were killed and another deputy wounded in shootings at the Fulton County Courthouse in downtown Atlanta this morning. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution said that Don O’Briant, a features reporter for the paper, was beaten by the suspect and carjacked outside the courthouse, and another AJC employee was involved in a second carjacking related to the incident (see separate story).

O’Briant was taken to Grady Hospital in the city. Authorities were hunting for the gunmen.

The judge, identified as Superior Court Judge Rowland Barnes, was shot on the eighth floor of the courthouse, while one of the deputies was shot on a street corner just outside the building, said Officer Alan Osborne with the Atlanta Police Department.

Fulton County Sheriff’s Lt. Clarence Huber identified the suspect as 34-year-old Brian Nichols, on trial on rape charges stemming from an incident in August. Authorities said the suspect grabbed a gun from the deputy inside the courthouse before opening fire. The incident occurred shortly after 9 a.m. at the courthouse, located in downtown Atlanta.

According to the Journal-Constitution, O’Briant said he had pulled into the first floor of the garage when a man pulled up in what he said was a dark SUV and asked for directions. O’Briant began giving directions when the man pulled a gun and demanded his keys. O’Briant gave them to him. He then told O’Briant to get in the trunk of the 1997 green Honda Accord, but he refused.

?The man told O’Briant he would kill him,? the paper reported. ?O’Briant began to run when the man hit him over his left eye with either the butt of his gun or his fist. O’Briant then kept running, hit a dumpster, fell and injured his left wrist. He kept walking down Marietta Street to the AJC building, when he met co-worker Drew Jubera.

?O’Briant gave police a description of the man and the incident and was taken by ambulance to Atlanta Medical Center.

?Jubera and reporter Sonia Murray were both witnesses to a second carjacking in the Cone Street garage.?

According to the paper, the suspect apparently carjacked three vehicles following the shooting.

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