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Breaking News

    One person was killed and multiple people were injured when an SUV came crashing into the lobby of Piedmont Hospital’s emergency room Tuesday morning. A Mercedes-Benz plowed down two people and “bumped several others” just inside the glass doors to the hospital building on Peachtree Road, Atlanta police spokesman Officer Steve Avery said. Its driver was arriving for an appointment about 7:40 a.m. when she lost control in the circle drive outside the emergency room, hit another car and veered into the building, he said. She was not injured. One person was pronounced dead at the scene. At least four other people were hurt, although their injuries are not considered life-threatening. The names of the victims were not released. — Please return to AJC.com for updates. 
  • The landmark CNN Center building in downtown Atlanta may soon have a new owner, though CNN employees will remain there for at least a few more years. AT&T, which owns CNN as a result of its 2018 acquisition of Time Warner, has either already agreed to sell or plans to sell the CNN Center, according to an internal company memo sent on Monday. WarnerMedia, the subsidiary of AT&T that operates CNN, will lease back the building from its new owners for at least five years. CNN employees won’t be affected immediately. But long-range plans call for many if not most CNN employees to move from downtown to recently renovated buildings near Georgia Tech that already house TNT, Cartoon Network and other WarnerMedia networks. WarnerMedia has a total of about 6,000 employees in Atlanta. The CNN Center has long been a downtown magnet. It was damaged in late May when protests over the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minnesota turned violent. A large sign of CNN’s iconic red logo, located at one of the building’s main entrances, was also damaged during the demonstrations, though quickly repaired the next day. CNN has occupied its namesake building since 1987, when Ted Turner moved the network there from its original home at the Techwood campus, where it was founded in 1980. >>Read MORE on AJC.com.
  • More than 100 people were brought to safety Saturday evening after a strong thunderstorm left them stranded on the Chattahoochee River, officials said.  During the two-hour operation, Gwinnett County and Johns Creek fire crews tended to 111 river visitors who were caught in the massive storm, according to Gwinnett department spokesman Lt. Justin Wilson.  Gwinnett County firefighters were sent to the river near Abbotts Bridge shortly before 5 p.m. after multiple people were reported stranded, Wilson said.  Wilson said the group was a part of a tubing company tour that was spending the day on the river. The storm caused the water conditions to become turbulent, he said. Gwinnett and Johns Creek first responders converged on the river to try to help the visitors, Wilson said. Crews aided a large group of people that had taken shelter directly under Abbotts Bridge, he said.  “Crews were under the bridge at the height of the storm and were getting people out of the water and onto the riverbank,” he said. “The imminent threat posed by the lightning and wind made it impossible for the large group of people to stay under the bridge.” The people who were rescued were taken to a staging area nearby. No injuries were reported.  In other news: 
  • A group of armed protesters who had occupied the Wendy’s where Rayshard Brooks was shot and killed have been removed from the area, according to Channel 2 Action News. Atlanta police on Wednesday removed protesters who had been seen carrying long guns and blocking the area surrounding the University Avenue restaurant, Channel 2 reported.  No details about the removal were released. AJC.com has reached out to police for more specifics. In an emailed statement Wednesday morning, the Atlanta Police Department said it was “monitoring the situation and plans to coordinate with community leaders and the Wendy’s property owner to address security issues and help preserve peace for this community as soon as possible.” Read more on this story on ajc.com.
  • A group of armed protesters who had occupied the Wendy’s where Rayshard Brooks was shot and killed have been removed from the area, according to Channel 2 Action News. Authorities on Wednesday removed protesters who had been seen carrying long guns and blocking the area surrounding the University Avenue restaurant, Channel 2 reported.  When asked by AJC.com, Atlanta police said they did not remove any demonstrators.  “APD assisted in clearing University Avenue of barriers that had been blocking the road,” an Atlanta police spokeswoman said. “It is now open to thru traffic. We did not remove any demonstrators or take any further actions.” It’s unclear if another agency removed the armed protesters. RELATED: Drive-by shooting reported outside Wendy’s where Rayshard Brooks was killed Brooks was shot in the parking lot of the Wendy’s after fighting with two police officers who were trying to arrest him, AJC.com previously reported. Garrett Rolfe, the officer who fired the deadly shots, has been charged with murder.  The Wendy’s has since served as ground zero for protests related to Brooks’ death, one of which ended with it being torched. Natalie White, the woman accused of setting the fire, was arrested and charged with arson. She bonded out of jail Wednesday. MORE: Suspect in fire at Atlanta Wendy’s posts $10K bond Over the weekend, the restaurant again became the scene of violence. >>Read MORE on AJC.com.
  • Just like the rest of America, when Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard announced charges Wednesday against two Atlanta police officers in the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks, Brooks’ widow, Tomika Miller, was hearing them in real time. How after shooting Brooks twice in the back, Garrett Rolfe kicked Brooks, a black man, as he lay on the ground dying. How another officer, Devin Brosnan, stood on Brooks’ shoulders. How the officers waited two minutes and 12 seconds before giving Brooks any medical attention. “I was very hurt,” Tomika Miller said, fighting back tears. “Because I couldn’t imagine what I would have done if I had seen that for myself. But I felt everything that he felt, just by hearing what he went through. And it hurt. It hurt really bad.” But she also was “grateful” for the charges, she said at a press conference with family attorneys. Last Friday, Brooks was shot by Rolfe following a scuffle outside of a South Atlanta Wendy’s. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms quickly fired Rolfe and accepted the resignation of Police Chief Erika Shields. On Wednesday, Howard charged Rolfe with felony murder and 10 other offenses, including five counts of aggravated assault. Brosnan was charged with aggravated assault and three counts of violation of oath. Justin Miller, an attorney for the Brooks family, said even with the announcement of the charges, “this is not the finish line. This is the starting point.” “America is not America for all Americans,” Justin Miller added at the same press conference. He said the family, attorneys and protesters have to stay focused on the officers being convicted of all the charges. “With these new revelations, I implore you to look into your heart and have empathy for another human being. Because that is who Rayshard Brooks is and was. He may not look like you, but he is another human being,” Justin Miller said. As her attorneys talked, Tomika Miller stood silently and wept. Read more on this story on ajc.com.
  • Investigators are looking into a string of deaths after three homeless people were found fatally shot in Atlanta within a two-week span.  The most recent victim was located Monday at the intersection of Pryor and Rawson streets about 10 a.m. A woman was shot multiple times with a handgun, Atlanta police spokeswoman Capt. D’Andrea Price said at the scene. The victim’s name has not been released. Witnesses told AJC.com the fatal shooting happened inside a tent. Isidro Rivera, who was working with a crew across the street at the time of the incident, said he heard five to 10 gunshots. He said he saw a man leave the tent, tuck a gun into his backpack and walk away.  Rivera said a few minutes later he looked inside the tent and saw a “lady full of blood” with gunshot shells near her body.  “It was a close range,” he said. “Real close.”  Read more on this story on ajc.com.
  • Dozens of people gathered outside the smoldering hulk of the University Avenue Wendy’s on Sunday morning. Many were moved by the death of Rayshard Brooks, a black man who died after being shot by a white police officer in the restaurant’s parking lot Friday night.  Many came bearing flowers for an impromptu memorial. Others came to help clean up after the restaurant had been set ablaze amid a protest Saturday night. “The brother was running away,” said a dismayed Bo Rodney, 54. “Deadly force was not necessary.” Rodney’s view on the fatal shooting was the prevailing sentiment among the people gathered there at the beginning of a second day of protests over the killing of another black man by police. “We have so much anxiety and anger because of what white folks do to us on the daily,” said Rodney, who lives in the nearby Peoplestown neighborhood. “That could have been me.” People clutched Black Lives Matters posters and took turns at a bullhorn, calling for change. People drove by, honking in support. “People all over the place want their feelings heard,” said Ronald Williams, who lives in downtown Atlanta, a city that for him is one of the best places for a black person to live. The protests that he has been attending aren’t so much about this city, he said, though this latest death may change that. “I can understand the police needing to protect themselves, but this wasn’t even a protection situation,” he said. Tempers flared when a young man spray-painted a bit of wall that was still standing. He had written “Whose next?” Eva Snow, who lives in the neighborhood and often ate at the restaurant, yelled at him to stop, deeming it disrespectful. Others defended him, reasoning that the building was already wrecked and would be torn down anyway. Let him express himself, they said. Snow admitted she was conflicted about what happened to the restaurant. She blamed the fire on white supremacists, saying she knows people who saw white people igniting it. Yet Wendy’s had it coming, she added, because she said they chose to open Saturday despite the spilling of blood in their parking lot hours earlier. “I’m angry and I’m not angry,” she said of the fire. “They should not have opened.” Among the crowd were several Atlanta City Council members dressed in shorts, jeans and other casual clothes because they said they’d come to help clean up. » RELATED: $10,000 reward offered for info on arson suspects The situation did not have to escalate to violence, said Joyce Sheperd, the council member who represents the area.  Police were called to the scene with a complaint that Brooks had fallen asleep behind the wheel, blocking the restaurant’s drive-thru lane. Brooks, 27, had nearly a half-hour of conversation with officers, when he answered their questions about where he’d been Friday night and what he’d been drinking, according to videos, including from policy body cameras.  When two officers tried to cuff him, Brooks struggled, then snatched one of their Tasers and ran off with it, according to GBI investigators. He was shot seconds later. The officers should not have allowed the situation to escalate, Sheperd said. “The choice was: Do I lock him up because he’s drunk or do I say why don’t you park your car and get over it,” she said.  They should have let him sleep it off or let him walk home if he lived nearby, she said, or they should have called someone to pick him up. » PHOTOS: More from the cleanup, memorial  Officer Garrett Rolfe, also 27, was terminated while officer Devin Brosnan has been placed on administrative duty, an Atlanta police spokesman, Sgt. John Chafee, said in a brief statement Sunday. At a Saturday press conference, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced the resignation of Chief Erika Shields. Sheperd said she likes Shields but thinks that under the circumstances she had to go. Sheperd was thinking of both the death of Brooks and the rough arrests of two young black people during a curfew crackdown amid a downtown protest last month. That incident resulted in criminal charges against a half-dozen officers. “Too many cases,” Sheperd said, adding that the problem is much bigger than Shields or even policing. Racist culture is the problem, she said. Councilman Antonio Brown believes Shields shouldn’t shoulder all the blame. He tweeted that the City Council and the mayor were equally responsible “for the unarmed black lives lost to police brutality.” He elaborated outside the Wendy’s on Sunday: “Everyone’s a little upset with me because I posted if she resigns we should all resign,” he said. Brown represents a part of Atlanta west of downtown and wants more foot and bike patrols because he thinks officers need to be among the people, developing relationships with them. “We’re never going to move forward if we don’t do that,” he said. Some saw the removal of Shields as a purely symbolic act. It changes nothing, though it makes sense politically, since it might avert violent protest, said Joe Mitchell, a schoolteacher who drove through several counties from his home in Lithia Springs to see the Wendy’s for himself.  He stopped in on the protest, then pulled out a plastic bag and donned rubber gloves, and started collecting garbage along University Avenue. » COMPLETE COVERAGE: Atlanta protests  Keeping neighborhoods clean is something he does as part of a group from his days at the University of West Virginia, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. “Even though I don’t live in this community, black people live in this community and I’m black,” he said. Mitchell said the path to reducing police violence against black people is through compassion and empathy. He said cops need to understand the people in the communities they are sworn to protect, adding that bigger protests are likely to result from this latest killing. Rodney, the Peoplestown resident, said he thinks white officers are too ready to draw a gun on black men because they fear them. It’s driven by racism and a fear of retribution that has lingered since the days of slavery, he added.  He pointed inside the charred remains of the restaurant, at a wisp of smoke rising from a hidden source of fuel. “We’ve got to put that out once and for all,” he said. “This is way overdue.” He wasn’t talking about the restaurant fire.
  • The internet hacking group Anonymous claimed responsibility for an attack against Atlanta police Sunday, saying they had taken the department’s website offline.  The announcement came in the form of a tweet from an account branded “Anonymous USA” shortly before 8:30 a.m. The Atlanta Police Department’s website briefly appeared to be offline afterward, but was functioning by 11:30 a.m. The incident comes after the death of Rayshard Brooks, who was fatally shot Friday night in the parking lot of the Wendy’s on University Avenue.  Police were sent to the Wendy’s after Brooks reportedly fell asleep in his car and blocked the restaurant’s drive-thru. A struggle broke out when officers attempted to arrest the man.  MORE: City reacts to police shooting of Rayshard Brooks Video posted on social media showed Brooks on the ground wrestling with two white Atlanta police officers in the parking lot. Officers attempted to use a Taser on Brooks, who was able to wrestle the stun gun away and run away, with officers in pursuit. Shots are heard but not seen in the video. RELATED: Protesters set Wendy’s on fire, enter interstate after Atlanta death Officer Garret Rolfe, who officials said fired the shots that killed Brooks, was terminated from the department. The second officer involved, Officer Devin Bronson, has been placed on administrative duty, officials said.  Other twitter accounts that claimed affiliation with Anonymous referenced the apparent cyber attack and called for the officers’ arrests.  The Minneapolis Police Department — who came under fire following the death of George Floyd in police custody — seemingly suffered a similar attack in May after Anonymous released a video demanding justice in the case.  No other details about the incident were released. We are working to learn more.  It is not the first time the City of Atlanta’s computer systems have come under attack. Restoring the city’s network after a 2018 ransomware attack cost Atlanta an estimated $2.7 million.  MORE: Cost of City of Atlanta’s cyber attack: $2.7 million — and rising In other news: 
  • An additional six demonstrators were arrested Sunday as unrest continues in Atlanta following the police killing of Rayshard Brooks. They were added to the three dozen arrested Saturday evening when a flood of protesters overtook the Downtown Connector and blocked traffic, police said. During the massive demonstration, which opened the third straight weekend of protests in Atlanta, the Wendy’s restaurant on University Avenue where Brooks was shot Friday night was set on fire. RELATED: Protesters set Wendy’s on fire, enter interstate after Atlanta death PHOTOS: Residents help with cleanup, memorial Sunday Police were sent to the Wendy’s after Brooks, a 27-year-old black man, reportedly fell asleep in his car and blocked the restaurant’s drive-thru. A struggle broke out when officers attempted to arrest the man.  MORE: City reacts to police shooting of Rayshard Brooks Video posted on social media showed Brooks on the ground wrestling with two white Atlanta police officers in the parking lot. Officers attempted to use a stun gun on Brooks, who was able to wrestle the weapon away and run away, with officers in pursuit. Shots are heard but not seen in the video. Body and dash camera footage of the incident has since been released by police. RELATED: Body cam footage of Rayshard Brooks’ death shows calm, then chaos Officer Garret Rolfe, who officials said fired the shots that killed Brooks, was terminated from the department. The second officer involved, Officer Devin Brosnan, has been placed on administrative duty, officials said. Read more on this story on ajc.com.