The body of suspect Jarvis Jarrette, 32, of Milledgeville, was found on a balcony. The GBI is investigating Jarrette’s death as an officer-involved shooting, the 79th such case the state agency has opened this year.
Atlanta police released eight 911 calls, most of which describe Jarrette as moving between two balconies of the building. Yelling and gunshots were reported by neighbors to have vibrated throughout the building and the impact was heard from callers in the building across the street.
“I think I heard gunshots from my apartment building. I heard yelling and some banging,” the first 911 caller said. “I can just hear yelling outside and I feel like it was gunshots or some kind of disturbance.”
With police already en route, other witnesses flooded dispatchers with calls for help and in fear of their own safety. During one 911 call, yelling could be heard in the background.
“Do you hear that? Like the guy just shouting,” the caller asked the dispatcher. “I think he is holding a gun too if I’m not wrong. ... Oh My God, I think he just, Oh (expletive)...He is going to the next apartment like he’s trying to jump into the next apartment, he’s right at the edge, he could fall off the building.”
Witnesses said Jarrette did not have a shirt on and was out on the balcony. He appeared to be holding “some sort of a rifle,” according to one 911 caller who said he was looking at the shooter with his binoculars from across the street. Multiple witnesses claimed that Jarrette seemed to be standing between two apartment balconies and looking over his shoulder in a “hypervigilant” manner.
“I’m on a balcony across the street and I can see the shooter,” another caller who was trying to help authorities locate the shooter told a dispatcher over the phone. “The guy is basically going in between one side and the other, and if you’re the police and you’re coming in right now, the guy is on the left balcony and he’s looking back and forth, he’s climbing on the railing like in between both (apartment balconies) ... and he has a gun.”
When the first officers responded, Jarette was “actively shooting from a balcony” on the 21st floor, a GBI spokeswoman said in a news release. Dispatchers could hear the shots in the background of other 911 calls made from inside the apartment tower. GBI spokeswoman Nelly Miles said that Jarrette fired a rifle at responding officers and at least one officer returned fire.
“He’s out on his balcony and like gunshots are going off. There’s police down on the street on West Peachtree and looks like he just hopped to the side balcony to get in like another apartment,” another 911 caller said while watching police respond to the shooting from below.
Bryant said officers quickly contained the man, but it took time to make a thorough search of the building for victims or other gunmen. Investigators believe the initial gunfire was limited to Cox’s apartment, and no one else inside the tower was injured.
Jarrette and Cox knew each other, but Bryant said it is too early to determine a motive in her death.
“Sadly, we could not address what happened inside an apartment, but it is our quick response that I think saved our community from a much worse incident,” Bryant said.
For hours, police described the situation as an active shooter and blocked West Peachtree Street between 10th and 14th streets, positioning SWAT units outside the building. Atlantic House management sent an early morning email imploring all residents to stay in their apartments, according to Channel 2.
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said citizens shared more details about what was happening on social media than with emergency dispatchers, hampering the police response. Her comments come days after a woman was raped on a commuter train outside Philadelphia while multiple people held up their cellphones, instead of intervening, according to Pennsylvania authorities.
“We just ask that you put down your camera, put down your phone and call 911 and then allow us to do what we do,” Bottoms said from the scene.
The mayor and the police chief spoke in solidarity Wednesday.
“This is a testament of where we are as a police department,” Bryant told reporters at the conclusion of the standoff. “So often, the question (is raised) of what’s the morale of our police department? Do we have our capacity to respond? The answer is yes.”