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Man opens fire on lunchtime crowd at mall

By
C.W. GRIFFIN III

ATLANTA -- A man wearing a grey business suit emptied a six-shot revolver into a lunchtime crowd at a shopping mall food court Tuesday, killing one man and wounding four others, then surrendered to police.

Police said documents found on the gunman when he surrendered outside Perimeter Mall indicated he had been released from a Georgia mental hospital on Monday. The hospital, citing patient confidentiality, refused to comment.

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Authorities said the gunman, who was carrying a briefcase, entered the food court in Perimeter Mall in the city's affluent northern suburbs shortly after noon, drew a .38-caliber revolver and began firing at random at the crowd of 200, creating pandimonium as victims fell and shoppers scrambled for cover.

DeKalb County Police identified the gunman as 30-year-old Reginald Moreman of Anniston, Ala., but he also carried papers identifying him as James Calvin Brady, 31, of Atlanta.

DeKalb County Police spokesman Tom Brown said the suspect was charged with one count of murder and three counts of aggravated assault.

One of the victims of the attack, 24-year-old Michael Gregory Musick of Norcross, died at Northside Hospital of a chest wound.

Three other people wounded in the lunchtime attack were hospitalized in serious to critical condition, but were all expected to survive. A fourth victim, a Federal Express employee, was treated and released for a leg wound.

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Police said the suspect emptied his pistol and began reloading when an elderly man apparently talked him out shooting anyone else. Witnesses said the suspect then walked to the front of the mall and surrendered to police without incident.

'He met some officers coming out the door and essentially said, 'I'm the one you're looking for,'' Brown said.

'He was basically incoherent when he was taken across the street to the police precinct,' Brown said. 'He was muttering something like 'You don't know what people have been doing to me.''

Brown said the suspect had documents indicating he had been a patient at Georgia Regional Hospital, a mental institution. Police Col. M.F. Ferguson confirmed the documents said he had been released from the hospital Monday, and they also indicated he had been diagnosed as homicidal and suicidal.

When police moved the suspect from the precinct to the city jail, he was restrained with arm and leg shackles and a straitjacket.

Kristin Kabbenjian, who along with her husband owns the Hovan deli near where Brady dropped his gun, said that as he began to reload his pistol, the elderly man said, 'Please don't shoot me.'

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She said the gunman looked at the elderly man and said, 'I don't won't to kill anybody. They just did a lot of sh-- to me.' He then dropped the gun near a trash can.

Brown said officers had not located the elderly man. Witnesses said he was with an elderly woman, and the two were pushing a carriage.

'He possibly is the hero of this situation,' Ferguson said. 'But he's apparently camera shy.'

Nyree Smith, who works at Salads restaurant, said she leaned over the counter to see what was happening when she heard a 'popping' sound.

'He was just kind of shuffling his feet along, just shooting and shooting,' Smith said.

Brian Benefield, who was sitting about 12 feet away when the gunman opened fire, said, 'I seen the guy standing with his arm extended just firing away. I just ran to get away.'

Sharon Wise, an employee of the Great American Cookie Company, said, 'All I know is I thought it was balloons popping. He came through the mall and just started shooting.'

Jimmy Adams, another witness, said he heard the man say, 'You all did something to me. I'm just getting you back.'

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Paul Seals, who witnessed the arrest, said the gunman stood at the curb outside the mall after the shooting and waited for police.

'He acted like he was waiting on a bus,' Seals said.

In the central fast-food area where the gunman shot his victims, taco and hamburger wrappers, plastic trays and paper cups were scattered about. In the trendier end of the food court, where the gunman dropped his pistol, quiche and lasagna lay at the feet of diners who continued their lunch after police took control of the situation.

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