Police ID Gunman In Fatal CNN Center Shooting - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

03/04/07 - Atlanta, Georgia

Police ID Gunman In Fatal CNN Center Shooting

An Atlanta man fatally shot his ex-girlfriend Tuesday at the CNN Center complex in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, before being shot by a security officer, police said.

The ex-girlfriend, Clara Riddles, 22, of College Park, Georgia, just outside Atlanta, died at Grady Memorial Hospital of her injuries.

The suspect, Arthur Mann, who police said is in his late 30s, was in stable condition Tuesday night at Grady. A law enforcement source told CNN that Mann was shot in the face.

Mann was in critical condition earlier in the day and underwent surgery, the hospital said. Police said he is facing murder charges.

The shooting, which prompted many visitors to flee the CNN Center atrium, occurred about 1:30 p.m. near the Omni Hotel which is part of the complex. The incident resulted in the brief evacuation of the nearby CNN.com newsroom.

Witness Charles Williams was riding up the escalator toward the Omni Hotel lobby when he saw Mann pulling Riddles by her hair with his left hand.

Riddles, an Omni employee, was screaming and crying and holding on to her hair close to her head with both hands, Williams said.

"I was walking directly toward them and he and I were eye-to-eye, and so I started looking at his right hand to see if he had something," said Williams, who works in technology services for Turner Broadcasting.

'Get out my way'

The suspect warned Williams, "Get out my way, pimpin'."

"I knew you don't say that to someone unless you got something," said Williams, who said he tried determine if the man had a weapon in his right hand, but could not get a clear view.

Williams moved out of the man's way and quickly motioned for the nearest security officer to come to him.

"I was saying, 'Come here quickly, come!' "

Then Williams lost sight of the couple as they turned into a hallway outside the CNN.com newsroom.

The officer radioed in a disturbance report and soon other security officers were on the scene.

John Helton, a CNN.com producer, had a direct view of the gunman through glass doors. "I saw him coming down the escalator pulling her along, around the corner. He ran into the plant and that's when they started struggling," he said.

"She seemed to be trying to wrestle free of him," he said.

Helton said the woman appeared to be shot at point-blank range. "He looked like he had the gun right on top of her head and shot her."

After the shots, CNN.com writer Brad Lendon said, the gunman "looked around, his head turning in my direction. I don't know if he saw me, but at that moment the gravity of what I'd witnessed hit me. I turned away and tried to find the safest way I could out."

The gunman was then shot by Capt. Odell Adams, who joined Turner Security in 1996, according to a spokesperson for Turner, the parent company for CNN.

CNN Medical Producer Matt Sloane shot video of a security officer pointing a gun at the alleged shooter outside the CNN.com newsroom. Sloane saw the man lying face down, apparently bloody. Riddles lay nearby.

Sloane shot the footage through two sets of glass doors into an area the public can access. Some glass was shattered.

A busy and frightening day

Riddles was working Tuesday at the Omni Hotel where she had been employed for about a year, hotel spokesman Michael Sullivan said. She worked in the Honor Bar department restocking minibars in the rooms.

An autopsy on Riddles will be performed Wednesday morning, said Investigator Betty Honey of the Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office.

The CNN Center was particularly busy Tuesday, following Monday night's NCAA championship game in the nearby Georgia Dome.

At the time of the shooting, many visitors were in the nearby atrium, which includes a food court, shops and a massive television screen broadcasting CNN.

One woman, who was visiting the CNN Center, said she saw security officers running with their guns drawn.

"The kids were pretty shaken up, and it was pretty scary. And it wasn't until we came back in after the fact and looked up on the CNN screen that we had learned what had really happened," she said.

Louis Principato was on a CNN studio tour when he heard the gunfire.

"The tour guide didn't flinch," he said. "She was very calm. She brought us up into the theater upstairs, where everyone was safe."

The offices of CNN, and the newsrooms for CNN and CNN International, are on higher levels at the other end of the building and were unaffected.

Turner Broadcasting sent messages to employees saying free confidential counseling would be made available. The company made a counselor available Tuesday and planned to do so again Wednesday.

"None of us expects something like this to be part of our work day," Phil Kent, chairman and CEO of Turner Broadcasting, said in a statement to employees.

"Turner Security personnel perform difficult, at times dangerous duty on our behalf. And Turner employees are vigilant in doing their part to ensure the safety of our work environment. Today's events are a sobering reminder of the need to be aware, informed and above all, safe."

Story courtesy of CNN Newsource.

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