A suspect in a series of shootings that killed two people and sowed chaos Monday afternoon in Midtown Atlanta was denied bond Tuesday.
Raissa Kengne, 34, was taken into custody at the end of a citywide manhunt that spawned a frenzy of police activity and a shelter-in-place order, police confirmed Tuesday. The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives made the arrest at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
Credit: Fulton County Sheriff's Office
Credit: Fulton County Sheriff's Office
Kengne is accused of using a gun to assault four people at two Midtown locations, according to an arrest warrant obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Two victims died and a third was taken to the hospital, police said.
Michael Shinners, 60, was found dead and a second victim was injured around 1:45 p.m. at the first shooting scene, the 1280 West condominium building on West Peachtree Street, the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed.
Beacon Management Services, the company that manages the residential building, identified Shinners as the property manager and the injured victim as chief building engineer Mike Horne, Channel 2 Action News reported. The two were found in the management office, police said.
A fourth victim was held at gunpoint in the management office as Kengne demanded personal property from the employee, according to the arrest warrant.
Thirty minutes later, Wesley Freeman, 41, was injured in the second shooting at an office tower at 1100 Peachtree Street, not far from the bustling Colony Square development. Freeman later died at Grady Memorial Hospital, according to the medical examiner’s office.
Kengne was arrested a little more than two hours after the first shots were fired at 1280 West, police said. According to online records, she was booked into the Fulton County Jail on multiple counts of murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and weapons charges. She was denied bond at her first appearance hearing early Tuesday afternoon.
During the hearing, Kengne took the unusual step of directly addressing the judge. Magistrate Judge Todd Ashley asked Kengne several times not to speak during the hearing, but she ignored his direction and insisted the public defender representing her at the hearing was not her lawyer.
Ashley explained several times that, because of the charges against her, Kengne was not eligible for bond and would be able to hire her own attorney later. Kengne continued her attempts to address the judge, but he ended the hearing and dismissed her from the courtroom.
“Good luck,” Ashley said to Kengne’s temporarily appointed representative.
During a news conference following the arrest Monday, interim Atlanta police Chief Darin Schierbaum said investigators do not believe the shootings were “random acts of violence.” He did not go into further detail but confirmed that Kengne is linked to both shootings.
In a statement provided to Channel 2, the 1280 West property management group described Kengne as a “disgruntled resident of the building.”
“We do believe the individuals were likely targeted that were harmed today,” Schierbaum said, adding he was grieving with his neighbors in Midtown for the loss of life.
During the extensive search, security offices at several Midtown towers lent their resources to the police department, and Midtown’s network of security cameras helped track the woman as she fled the scene, he said.
She was located in the international terminal of the airport around 4 p.m. and taken into custody without incident. Mayor Andre Dickens said the woman was arrested before going through security and entering a restricted area.
The weapon used in the shootings was recovered during her arrest, Schierbaum said. Investigators were able to track Kengne by contacting the taxi company she used to travel there.
The Midtown Neighbors Association earlier posted a photo of the suspect on social media showing the woman wearing jeans and a long-sleeved shirt with horizontal black and white stripes.
Just after 4 p.m., Brian Moote, a morning show host on Atlanta radio station 94.9 The Bull, posted a photo from the airport showing a woman wearing similar clothing surrounded by heavily armed law enforcement officers.
Photos and video shared on social media showed a heavy police presence around Colony Square at Peachtree and 14th streets for most of the afternoon. Those busy streets were reopened to traffic around 4 p.m., but 1280 West remained locked down late into Monday evening.
From his position high above Colony Square, Jaylen Green was confused when the active shooter alarm went off in the building where he works. He looked down to find a sea of police vehicles. For nearly 10 minutes, he wasn’t sure if the shooter was inside his building or on the street.
”We didn’t understand that what was happening outside was different from what was happening in the building,” Green told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We assumed there was an active shooter in our building.”
Eventually, Green said his building went on lockdown and he saw someone being taken away in an ambulance near Colony Square.
Tori Alexas, who works within Colony Square, said she was startled when the alarm in her building went off and several police vehicles began crowding the streets below her.
Atlanta Police Release Midtown Shooting Suspect Arrest Video
The latest release is below.
**SUSPECT IN CUSTODY***
The suspect was arrested and identified as Raissa Kengne (6/1988) She was charged with two counts of Murder – Felony (16-5-1), four counts of Aggravated Assault (16-5-21), Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony (16-11-106), and False Imprisonment (16-5-41). Ms. Kengne was transported to the Fulton County Jail.
On 8-22-2022, at around 1:45 PM, officers responded to a person shot call at 1280 W. Peachtree Street. Upon arrival, officers located two individuals who appeared to have been shot. One of the victims has died and the second was taken to the hospital for treatment. While at 1280 W. Peachtree Street, officers received another call of a person shot at 1100 Peachtree Street. Upon arrival there, officers located one individual who appeared to have been shot. The individual was taken to the hospital for treatment and has since died.
Initial information indicated a single suspect, a female, was responsible for each of these incidents. Multiple officers responded to the Midtown area and began searching for the female suspect. Initially, it was unclear whether the female was still in the midtown area or whether she had left. Officers began investigating all leads regarding potential locations of the suspect. During the investigation, we received information the suspect was heading to the airport. Law enforcement personnel at the airport were alerted and were able to apprehend her before she was able to enter any of the airport's controlled areas.
A total of three people have been shot.
1. Two of the victims have died. One victim remains in the hospital being treated (condition unknown at this time).
2. The last shot appears to have been fired around 2:15 PM.
We are actively investigating the circumstances surrounding the shootings.
We are actively investigating what led to the shootings.
We are investigating the connection between the locations.
Preliminary information suggests the victims were targeted by the suspect.
The female suspect was located at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and taken into custody without incident.
She was located inside the airport, prior to making it to any controlled areas of the airport.
We are grateful for the assistance of our public safety partners who assisted in this situation. Specifically, the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, Fulton County Marshalls Office, MARTA Police, Georgia State University Police, Georgia Tech Police Department, the ATF, Atlanta Fire Rescue Department and Grady EMS.
With the help of our public safety partners and our extensive camera network.Posted by City of Atlanta Police Department on Tuesday, August 23, 2022
”Around 2 o’clock the sirens started going off and then they slowly started blocking off the road,” she said. “Just a lot of SWAT presence.”
It wasn’t until two hours later that the lockdown in her building was lifted. Alexas said she is upset that gunfire happened so close to her.
”I don’t want to have this fear of leaving work and having to look out for a shooter now,” she said.
Taquandra Alexander just moved to the city and stumbled upon the crime scene while heading to a restaurant nearby to apply for a cook position.
”I’ve never been this close to an active shooter,” she said. “It can really happen anywhere at this point.”
Police credited several other agencies for the robust response.
“We are grateful for the assistance of our public safety partners who assisted in this situation,” Atlanta police said. “Specifically, the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, Fulton County Marshal’s Office, MARTA police, GSU PD, Georgia Tech Police Department, the ATF, AFRD and Grady EMS.”
Schierbaum also thanked the Free Chapel in Midtown, which he said opened its doors to police and served as a temporary command center as law enforcement officers across several agencies swarmed the area.
— Staff writer Chelsea Prince contributed to this article.