The Atlanta Police Department announced it has arrested two 15-year-old suspects in an armed robbery at Lenox Square mall in Buckhead, where one man was shot.
According to a news release, on June 13 at about 8:30 p.m., officers responded to a 911 call about shots fired outside Lenox near the Apple store. When they arrived, they found a man in his early 40s who worked at the mall as a security guard and was shot in the torso during the robbery, Deputy Police Chief Timothy Peek said in a news conference later that night outside Lenox.
“Atlanta Fire Rescue and Grady EMS responded to the scene and transported the victim to the hospital in serious condition,” the release stated. “A description of the suspects were provided by nearby witnesses. Officers immediately established a perimeter around the mall and began canvassing the area.”
Shortly after that, the suspects, a 15-year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl, were found in the Westin Buckhead Atlanta hotel’s parking deck next door to the mall and were arrested. During the police’s search of the area, K-9 officers also found and recovered a firearm near the crime scene.
The suspects, whose names are not being released because they are minors, each were charged with criminal attempt to commit murder, armed robbery, aggravated assault, tampering with evidence, possession of a firearm by a person under the age of 18 years and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. They are being held in the Metro Regional Youth Detention Center in Atlanta.
No other injuries were reported, but Peek said the Apple store was damaged by bullets fired during the incident.
In a June 14 news conference at police headquarters, Deputy Chief Charles Hampton said the suspects may have robbed and shot the security guard so they could get into the Apple store, possibly believing he had keys to the mall since it was closed at the time.
He added the police are looking into the possibility of a blue car driven by a third suspect could have been involved in the incident.
Peek said the suspects were found and arrested quickly because the police’s summer plan, a strategy to deploy more officers to certain areas to address an expected uptick in crime since school is out.
“Because we have our actual summer plan in place, we had a multitude of units that were able to quickly respond and make contact with witnesses who stated that a security guard had been shot,” he said.
When asked by a reporter if there may be two other suspects still on the loose, Peek said, “That’s pending the investigation as well.” Regarding the two suspects already caught, he said, “We were ultimately able to recover much evidence, firearms as well, so we’ll be going through the investigation to see where that leads us.”
The security guard, whose name was not released by the police, was in critical condition as of late June 13, Peek said.
Lenox has been the scene of several shootings and other serious crimes in the past few years, prompting Simon Property Group, its owner, to install metal detectors there in December.
At both Lenox and nearby Phipps Plaza, another Simon-owned mall, the company also recently added patrols that include, during business hours, at least one K-9 unit, at least 18 off-duty Atlanta Police officers and over 13 private security officers, according to Lenox’s website.
In an emailed statement, Lenox stated in part, “We cannot find words strong enough to condemn this violent and unprovoked action against a valued member of our security team who was providing afterhours patrol outside the mall. Our hearts go out to this officer who was brutally attacked, and we are praying for his full recovery. This brave man and his colleagues come to work every day to protect the rights of our tenants to safely conduct their business and the rights of our shoppers to enjoy their experience in peace. We are grateful for everything they do, and they have our full and unwavering support.”
The mall also stated it has “invested millions and millions of dollars into one of the largest private security programs in the state of Georgia” to combat crime and thanked the Atlanta Police Department for its partnership with Lenox.
“But more must be done, including real action by our leaders to invest in public deterrents, fully hold criminals accountable and restore public confidence that Buckhead is safe to visit and enjoy,” Lenox stated. “Without this, those who commit these crimes will remain undeterred.”
A gofundme.com online fundraiser has been set up to collect donations for the security guard’s medical bills and identified him as Godjuhn Green. According to a message posted on the webpage, Green was shot in the chest and stomach, with the latter bullet possibly damaging his liver. The fundraiser has drawn $5,733 of its $20,000 goal as of June 16. To donate, visit https://bit.ly/3vv06T1.