Man charged with making mass shooting threats near Atlanta mall, police say

A man is in custody after threatening a mass shooting in the Greenbriar Mall area in southwest Atlanta, police said Friday afternoon.

The man was identified as Rashon Leiniel Banks, 47, police spokesman John Chafee said Saturday evening. He has been charged with making terroristic threats and acts.

Just before 10 a.m., police received a call from a crisis hotline that a man had made threats to conduct a mass shooting and exchange gunfire with police near the mall, Chafee said.

“We don’t know what led (to him calling the crisis hotline), but it appears he was in some crisis and was reaching out for some help,” Chafee said. “Something obviously led to him making these threats.”

Chafee said the calls were disconnected several times, and the threats took place over multiple calls to the hotline.

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Surveillance footage showed the man drop a book bag by a dumpster, which Chafee confirmed didn’t have any weapons inside it or present any threat. 

 

No weapons were found near the mall, Chafee said. 

Police negotiators located the man in the wood line near the mall, and he ended up leaving the woods and surrendering peacefully, Chafee said. No one was injured during the incident.

 

“Anytime that we have a threat of a mass shooting, it’s something that’s a concern to us,” Chafee said. “It has to be taken seriously.”

Police also said they are “attempting to put him in contact with professionals who can assist him with his crisis.”

Three schools in the area — Therrell High, Continental Colony Elementary and Ralph J. Bunche Middle — were on lockdown, Atlanta Public Schools confirmed. They were scheduled to dismiss as usual, according to the district. 

A Piccadilly restaurant and a beauty store within the mall were evacuated as a precaution, Chafee said.

He said the Georgia State Patrol and several other agencies assisted with the incident.

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