Man accused of hijacking bus in Atlanta charged with murder, other crimes

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ATLANTA (AP) — A man accused of hijacking a commuter bus in downtown Atlanta, fatally shooting one person and leading police on a chase through three counties faces more than two dozen criminal charges, including murder.

Joseph Eric Grier, 39, was taken into custody Tuesday after police got the bus to stop in suburban DeKalb County and was booked into the Fulton County Jail early Wednesday. He was being held without bond, and online jail records did not list a lawyer who could comment on the charges. Relatives who might be able to comment could not immediately be identified.

Atlanta police say they responded just after 4:30 p.m. Tuesday to a report of gunfire on a bus and a possible hostage situation. When an officer arrived about a minute later and confronted the suspect, the man forced the bus driver to drive off, Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum said.

Television news helicopter footage showed the bus striking multiple vehicles during the subsequent chase and crossing onto the wrong side of a road with police in pursuit. The bus was eventually stopped miles away in neighboring DeKalb County, where news footage showed Grier being led from the bus in handcuffs.

Schierbaum said there were 17 people on the bus, including the driver. As officers cleared the bus of passengers, they found an adult victim with a gunshot wound. Authorities said that person, whose name was not immediately released, was taken to a hospital and died from injuries.

Earlier Tuesday afternoon, police said a man shot three people in at a food court in downtown Atlanta before he was shot by an off-duty police officer. Schierbaum said the suspect and the three victims were taken to hospitals for treatment but were all expected to survive.

Grier is charged with one count of murder, one count of hijacking a motor vehicle, 13 counts of aggravated assault, 14 counts of kidnapping, one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and one count of possession of a firearm or knife during the commission of a crime.

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