- Christian Boone The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
One day after a college student was shot after allegedly attempting to force his way into an southwest Atlanta high school, two key questions remain.
Why was 20-year-old D’Tavius L’Quon Patterson, armed with a BB gun, trying to get into Forrest Hills Academy Monday morning? Whatever his intentions, Patterson wasn’t overly determined to gain entry onto the campus.
School officials, seeing an armed man approaching, called Atlanta Public Schools police. According to the GBI, which is handling the investigation, police encountered Patterson after he had left school property.
“They observed the weapon in his possession,” said GBI spokeswoman Nelly Miles.
Which leads to the second unanswered question: Why did one of the officers shoot Patterson?
On Tuesday, Miles said, “It’s not clear if he pulled a weapon or pointed a weapon at the officers.” One day later, investigators still don’t have a definitive answer, Miles said.
“At this point, we don’t know the answers to those questions,” she said.
Patterson was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital where he was in stable condition on Wednesday evening, Miles said. Warrants have been taken out on the suspect for bringing a weapon onto school property.
Attempts to reach members of Patterson’s family were unsuccessful. He has no known criminal record and, as of May, was enrolled at Albany State University, public documents reveal. His home address is a little more than six miles from Forrest Hills Academy.
At this point, the investigation into the incident is focused not so much on Patterson but the Atlanta schools police officer who shot him. The officer’s name has not been released by authorities.
Atlanta schools created its own police force in 2016, ending its school security contract with the Atlanta Police Department amid warnings from Mayor Kasim Reed that the move could have “catastrophic consequences” for children.
“We’ve got to be in the business of building meaningful relationships with our students,” Atlanta school board chairman Courtney English told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2015. Atlanta schools need “people who can build relationships without having that strict law enforcement component.”
APS said the change would make for a a more accountable police force. But APS police have yet to comment on the shooting, referring all questions to the GBI.