Suspect in fatal Midtown shooting identified

Witnesses saw suspect and victim talking before incident

The man suspected of shooting a woman to death outside a Midtown office building was found dead Wednesday afternoon inside his Clayton County home.

Douglas Hope, 43, appeared to have committed suicide, but an autopsy will be performed, Sgt. Greg Lyon with Atlanta police said. Atlanta police went to Hope’s home to execute a search warrant, but instead found him dead around 2 p.m., Lyon said.

Authorities initially withheld Hope’s name, waiting until his next of kin was notified. But Thursday morning GBI officials, who are conducting the autopsy, identified him.

Police declined to say how Hope was related to the Hampton woman he allegedly shot hours earlier outside a Midtown office building, but have called it a “domestic related” incident. Bridgette Holt, 47, was shot around 6:30 a.m. at the 1230 Peachtree Street building, across from the Woodruff Arts Center.

Holt was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital, where she later died, police said.

Witnesses told police that both the shooter and Holt worked for Norfolk Southern. They were seen together just before the incident, police said.

“The female was going to her work site when she was approached by a male,” police spokeswoman Kim Jones said. “Witnesses stated that the victim and the male spoke for a moment before he produced a pistol and shot her several times. The man then fled the scene.”

Channel 2 Action News reported that people working inside the building and near the crime scene heard between two and three gunshots and the building was locked down for about half an hour. Soon after the shooting, police set up a crime scene on the 15th Street side of the building that faces the Woodruff Arts Center.

Holt “was a valued employee of 16 years who worked in the accounting department,” said Richard W. Harris, Norfolk Southern’s director of corporate communications. The company is offering counseling to employees and has scheduled town hall meetings to discuss the incident.

“The Norfolk Southern family extends its sympathy and support to the family and co-workers of Bridgette,” Harris said in an email.

Norfolk Southern has not confirmed Hope’s employment with the company.

— Photographer John Spink contributed to this report.

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