Marietta Police spokesman Officer Michael Gardner said a Dunbar armored vehicle arrived at Mex-American Mart on South Marietta Parkway just after 1 p.m. to make a pickup, when two black males entered the store and began asking the teller questions and attempting to cash a check. The two men lingered around in the store after they were unable to cash the check. One man revealed a handgun as the armored car guard began exiting the business. The men took the guard’s gun and bag of money he had just received then fled on foot, Gardner said.
Witnesses told police they saw the suspects running near the Cobb Community Transit bus station and onto the SPSU campus.
Once SPSU police heard that the suspects might be on campus grounds, the university issued a lockdown at approximately 1:15 p.m.
A statement issued by SPSU at the time stated: “There is a life endangering crime in progress on or near campus. All persons should shelter in place.”
Police said the lockdown was transmitted through intercom systems, e-mails, and text and voice messages. SPSU spokeswoman Sylvia Carson said K-9 dogs searched the campus until Marietta police felt confident the suspects were no longer there. The lockdown was declared over shortly before 2 p.m.
Matt Thomas, 24, said the students in his industrial systems and processing class at SPSU were nervous and scared.
“They told us not to go out until everything was clear, to lock our doors and windows and stay in our seats. We really didn’t know what was going on at all, so when you hear that someone with a gun could be running around campus, you can’t help but to think it may be a situation like Columbine or Virginia Tech,” Thomas said.
Thomas said he saw from his classroom windows several people walking around campus during the lockdown.
Ryan Sullivan, 23, said he was in his American English class when the lockdown was issued over the intercom. He most of the students in that class remained calm.
Gardner said late Thursday that police were not sure if the men are still in the Marietta area. Police also did not know how much money had been stolen. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has joined Marietta Police to investigate.
Gardner said the store had a surveillance camera, which photographed the suspects.
The first suspect is described as a 6-foot-tall black male with shoulder-length dreadlocks, wearing khaki pants with a dark jacket with black and white sneakers. The second is described as a black male with short hair, around 5-feet-8-inches tall, wearing a green ball cap, hooded jacket, blue jeans and black and white sneakers. Anyone with information is asked to call the Marietta Police tip line at 770-794-6990.