Police: Witness alerted Atlanta store manager to armed man

Southeast

This photo provided by the Atlanta Police Department shows weapons Rico Marley was armed with at the time of his arrest on Wednesday, March 24, 2021. Authorities say Marley, who walked into an Atlanta grocery store with multiple guns and body armor, was spotted by a witness who immediately became suspicious and alerted management. (Atlanta Police Department via AP)

ATLANTA (AP) — A sharp-eyed Instacart worker is getting credit for averting what could have been another awful crime in Atlanta, where a man brought body armor, ammunition and at least five guns into a grocery store.

Charles Russell spotted the man inside a bathroom stall with one of the rifles and alerted a manager at the Publix store, urging him to call 911. Police then converged on the store and arrested the man without a shot being fired.

This Wednesday, March 24, 2021, booking photo provided by the Fulton County (Georgia) Sheriff’s Office shows Rico Marley. Authorities say police arrested Marley, who walked into an Atlanta grocery store with multiple guns and body armor, just days after the mass shooting at a Colorado supermarket. (Fulton County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

Rico Marley, 22, was scheduled for an initial court hearing Thursday on charges including weapons possession during an attempt to commit felonies. Investigators also said Marley was undergoing a psychiatric evaluation. It’s unclear whether he had an attorney.

Russell told an Atlanta TV station that when he saw the man in the store’s bathroom on Wednesday, he immediately thought of Tuesday’s mass shooting at a King Sooper’s in Boulder that left 10 people dead.

“It possibly could have stopped something,” Russell told the TV station. “I seen an AR-15. (That) kind of startled me with the events that recently happened in the grocery store up in Colorado. To be able to stop it (a shooting), if it were going to be something, that’s what I cared about.”

The incident also happened days after eight people were fatally shot at three spas in the Atlanta area.

Atlanta Police spokesman Anthony Grant said police responded to the Atlanta Station Publix at 1:30 p.m. and saw Marley leaving the bathroom. They quickly held him for questioning, and found him with two long guns and three pistols, all concealed. Police later said a sixth gun was in his possession as well.

Police have been working since then to determine what exactly Marley planned to do with the arsenal. There were no reports of Marley pointing a weapon or using a weapon before authorities arrived.

Trademark and Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

© 1998 - 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. | All Rights Reserved.

Trending on NewsNationNow.com