Public Safety Atl_Police_car1

Published on May 7th, 2015 |

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2 suspects shot, arrested during stolen van incident in Buckhead

An off-duty police officer directing Thursday afternoon rush-hour traffic at the corner of Piedmont and Lenox roads in Buckhead shot two people suspected of stealing a van earlier in the day in downtown Atlanta.

The officer was alerted to the van after the two suspects were spotted trying to break into cars at Lenox Square mall, according to the Atlanta Police Department.

Atlanta police officers investigate the scene Thursday afternoon at Piedmont and Lenox roads where an off-duty officer shot two suspects in a van theft. APD Zone 2 Commander Major Van Hobbs is in white shirt near back of patrol car talking with another officer. Photo is by Atlanta Journal Constitution staffer Ben Gray.

Atlanta police officers investigate the scene Thursday afternoon at Piedmont and Lenox roads where an off-duty officer shot two suspects in a van theft. APD Zone 2 Commander Major Van Hobbs is in white shirt near back of patrol car talking with another officer. Photo is by Atlanta Journal-Constitution staffer Ben Gray.

It was a crime spree that spanned from downtown to Buckhead, and only ended when the off-duty officer fired shots at the two suspects, who then crashed a stolen van into a garage door at the Cambridge at Buckhead apartment complex and tried to run.

The two suspects didn’t get very far on foot before being arrested by Atlanta police officers. But the incident made a mess of the hectic afternoon rush-hour near traffic situation at Lenox and Piedmont roads and around Lenox Square mall, according to police.

Both suspects had been shot — one in the hand and the other in the shoulder — but neither of the injuries were life-threatening, according to police. Both men, whose names and ages weren’t released, were taken by ambulance to Grady Memorial Hospital and were in stable condition Thursday night.

The crimes remained under investigation Thursday night, but officers believe it began when a van was stolen in Midtown, APD Zone 2 Major Adam Lee III said.

While the van’s owner was reporting it stolen to police, a security guard at Lenox reported two men attempting to break into cars at the mall, Lee said.

“All we know is that they were in a stolen vehicle from downtown,” Lee said. “It looks like they went to Lenox Square at some point and were suspected of breaking in vehicles while they’re in a stolen car.”

Officers got a description of the stolen van and alerted other officers in the area to be on the lookout for it, Lee said. An off-duty sergeant, who was directing traffic at the intersection of Lenox and Piedmont roads, spotted the van and attempted to stop traffic to allow other officers to attempt a traffic stop.

But the van did not stop and instead continued through the intersection toward the uniformed officer, Lee said. “That vehicle came toward him and he ended up firing multiple rounds towards the vehicle,” Lee recounted.

The vehicle continued through the intersection and drove through the gate of the Cambridge at Buckhead apartment complex, according to police. Once in the complex, the van crashed into a garage, causing significant damage.

“They were both in the vehicle when it hit the garage door,” Lee said. The two men inside the van tried to run, but were quickly apprehended, Lee added. It was not known late Thursday what charges the two suspects would face.

The officer involved in the shooting, who is a supervisor, will be placed on paid administrative leave during the investigation. He was not injured.

Piedmont Road was temporarily blocked northbound, as well as several side streets. The intersection was cleared just after 7 p.m.

To read a full account of the incident by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, click here.

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