Police standoff on an Atlanta-area freeway halts traffic
ATLANTA (AP) — A police standoff brought traffic to a standstill Friday on an Atlanta-area freeway as officers confronted a motorist who they believed was armed and matched the description of a robbery suspect.
It ended without violence when he was taken into custody.
Video from a TV news helicopter showed police pulling the man from a car, apparently ending the confrontation that played out in the middle of Interstate 75.
More than a dozen officers with guns drawn had filled four lanes of the highway as police confronted a motorist they said was armed and not cooperating with the officers. The showdown lasted more than an hour.
News photos showed that the man was alive as he was carried away by officers, and police later said he was apprehended without injury.
The dramatic incident began with a report of an armed robbery a few miles away, at the customer service desk of a Walmart store. Officers reviewed video footage from the store and determined the suspect had driven away in a grey Honda Civic, police said.
Officers spotted a car matching the description and began following it, Marietta police spokesman Chuck McPhilamy told reporters.
“He pulled over to the side of the interstate and then refused to exit the vehicle,” McPhilamy said.
That led police to shut down all southbound lanes of I-75 just northwest of Atlanta.
“We had to do that for everyone’s safety,” McPhilamy said, as police used a telephone line to conduct an “off-and-on negotiation” with the motorist.
News photos showed an officer with a scoped rifle perched atop an armored vehicle and staring down at the suspect as police tried to resolve the situation.
Video from a news helicopter showed the armored vehicle nudging closer to the car as a drone hovered near the motorist’s front windshield. Then, the drone flew rapidly skyward and out of the way as officers rushed toward the car and grabbed the motorist inside.
Traffic was backed up for miles. The standoff came on a particularly busy day on Atlanta highways as people were traveling through the city on their way to spring break destinations.
The situation unfolded near SunTrust Park, the home of the Atlanta Braves, but there was no home game at the stadium Friday.
In a Friday afternoon update on the case, police said the motorist was at a hospital receiving a medical evaluation. His name wasn’t released.
Police said during the standoff that the man was armed, but no information on a weapon was released after the incident ended.
Marietta detectives are investigating the incident and have obtained a search warrant for the vehicle.