The horrific incident occurred at Northside Medical Midtown, an office building that’s part of the Northside Hospital system. It's the latest in a growing number of shootings at healthcare facilities.
A suspect fatally shot a woman who worked for the CDC and wounded four other people at a medical office building in downtown Atlanta, adding to a disturbing number of violent incidents at healthcare facilities.
The medical complex is part of Northside Hospital, which operates five hospitals in Georgia. The hospital said in social media posts that the building, Northside Medical Midtown, was closed Thursday and patient appointments would have to be rescheduled.
The shooting occurred Wednesday afternoon and the horrific event garnered national media attention. The woman who was killed worked for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the agency confirmed. The Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office identified her as Amy St. Pierre, CNN reported. Her husband confirmed her identity to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“CDC is deeply saddened by the unexpected loss of a colleague killed yesterday in the Midtown Atlanta shooting. Our hearts are with her family, friends, and colleagues as they remember her and grieve this tragic loss,” the agency said in a statement.
St. Pierre was pronounced dead at the scene, Atlanta police said. The four other victims were hospitalized, police said. They were taken to Grady Memorial Hospital in downtown Atlanta.
Robert Jansen, chief medical officer of Grady Memorial Hospital, said in a news conference on WXIA-TV Thursday that three victims were in the intensive care unit, and two of those victims were getting more surgery, while one victim could leave the ICU Thursday. One other wounded victim is stable, he said.
“Everyone is as stable as they can be, given the nature of their injuries,” Jansen said. Later, he added, “Physically, they all have a ways to go.”
In the news conference, Jansen said the impact on staff is “something you can’t imagine,” even for clinicians who see shooting victims on a daily basis.
“When they come in like this, particularly because it happened in a healthcare setting, it resonates more and creates angst as you would imagine,” Jansen said. “We’ve provided support as best we can. We’ve spoken with the staff and we have support staff to help them through this.”
Northside Hospital issued a statement Thursday calling for a day of reflection Friday, and offering thanks for the care provided by Grady Memorial Hospital.
“The Northside Hospital family is grieving,” the hospital said. “We deeply love and support the employees and patients who were directly involved, as well as others impacted in different ways.”
“We are incredibly grateful for the quick and courageous response of Atlanta-area law enforcement. Northside also thanks our colleagues at Grady Memorial Hospital for the care being provided to the victims. Their actions brought comfort and safety to our patients and staff at Northside Medical Midtown.”
Police said they arrested a suspect in the shooting, Deion Patterson, 24, Wednesday evening, several hours after the shootings. Atlanta authorities issued a shelter-in-place order, affecting businesses and thousands of public school students.
On Tuesday, the day before the shooting, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed legislation raising the penalties on those who attack healthcare workers. The legislation also allows hospitals to create their own police forces.
Shootings at hospitals and healthcare facilities have rattled employees, who have called for greater protection in the wake of increased violence they have endured in the COVID-19 pandemic.
A nurse and a social worker were fatally shot at Methodist Dallas Medical Center in Dallas, Texas in October 2022. Authorities said the suspect was assaulting his girlfriend in the maternity unit and shot the victims after they entered the patient’s room.
Four people were killed in a shooting at a medical building on the campus of the Saint Francis Health System in Tulsa, Okla. in June 2022. Authorities said the suspect was upset because of postoperative pain. Two doctors, a receptionist and a patient were killed.
In January 2023, a woman fatally shot her terminally ill husband at AdventHealth Daytona Beach Hospital in Florida, authorities said. Although no one else was injured in that incident, hospital staff scrambled to evacuate patients because the woman remained in the room for hours.
The American Hospital Association and other healthcare groups have implored the Biden administration and Congress to strengthen protections for hospital workers, pointing to federal laws protecting airline and airport workers.
In its statement Thursday, Northside asked the public to think of the victims and their families.
The hospital said, “Let us hope that this kind of tragedy never happens again - not to us, not to anyone.”