Police say they arrested a man who entered a supermarket in Atlanta on Wednesday with six guns and body armor.
Rico Marley, 22, was charged with aggravated assault and six counts of possession of a firearm during commission of a felony, an updated statement from Atlanta police said Thursday.
22 y/o Rico Marley was arrested and charged with reckless conduct. APD says he had 6 guns and was wearing body armor. They apprehended him coming out of the bathroom at the Atlantic Station Publix Wed. afternoon and Grady EMS did a mental evaluation on scene. No one was harmed. pic.twitter.com/yzo4cTYnhv
— Everything Georgia (@GAFollowers) March 25, 2021
This is a picture I obtained of the 6 guns, and ammo, found on the 22 year old suspect at the Atlantic Station Publix today. Police have said he was found with 5 but there appears to be one more handgun. Intentions of the suspect are still unknown. https://t.co/gMZBvbwWT8 pic.twitter.com/kQG9VgSfOx
— Matt Johnson (@MattWSB) March 25, 2021
Officers responded to Publix supermarket in the early afternoon on Wednesday and met with the store’s management, who said they had witnessed a man armed with a rifle enter the building.
Officers tracked down the man and recovered two long guns and three pistols, along with body armor. A preliminary investigation showed the suspect entered the supermarket openly carrying the rifle and then proceeded into the bathroom. A witness notified store management about the suspect, and management called police.
Police did not provide evidence that Marley planned to carry out a shooting at the store that day, according to CBS News. The arrest occurred the same week of a shooting at a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado, and awareness of the deadly shooting is what pushed a witness to alert Publix employees about what he saw.
“It possibly could have stopped something,” Charles Russell, who reportedly saw the suspect inside of the Publix bathroom with the weapons, told WSBTV.
The witness who saw 22 y/o Rico Marley in the bathroom with the AR-15 told us tonight he may have helped prevent a mass shooting. Charles Russell says the tragedy in Boulder was definitely on his mind. https://t.co/gMZBvbwWT8 pic.twitter.com/3fdUm4u7Om
— Matt Johnson (@MattWSB) March 25, 2021
“I saw an AR-15. And I was like, you know, this kind of startled me just again with events that recently happened in the grocery store up in Colorado,” Russell said. “To be able to stop it, if it were going to be something, that’s what I cared about as it progressed,” he added.
Once Marley exited the bathroom, officers immediately detained him, according to the police department’s statement.
Ten people, including a police officer, were killed Monday when alleged gunman Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa opened fire inside a King Soopers supermarket. (RELATED: ‘An American Hero’: Biden Praises The Police Officer Killed In Boulder Grocery Store Shooting)
Marley was taken in for a mental health evaluation before police took him to the Fulton County Jail, according to WSBTV. Police did not say what they believe Marley intended to do with the several weapons inside the store. Marley had a weapons carry license on him, WSBTV reported.
Publix said it was cooperating with the Atlanta Police Department during its investigation.
“We are thankful that there were no injuries, and all were able to exit the store safely,” Publix said in a statement, according to CBS. “The store is currently closed. Additional questions should be directed to the Atlanta Police Department.”
On the same day as the arrest, Atlantic Station, the upscale commercial area where Publix is located, was partially shut down as bomb squad investigated a suspicious package. It was unclear whether the package was related to the arrest earlier that day, according to CBS.
“At the request of the APD, we have shut down the interior shopping district streets at Atlantic Station and the parking deck to ensure the safety of the community as authorities investigate the suspicious package found onsite,” Atlantic Station tweeted Wednesday.
At the request of the APD, we have shut down the interior shopping district streets at Atlantic Station and the parking deck to ensure the safety of the community as authorities investigate the suspicious package found onsite. (1/2)
— Atlantic Station (@AtlanticStation) March 24, 2021
“It looks like they’re were searching everyone’s car,” a shopper told Fox 5 about the police and bomb squad activity. “The guy had on like armor and it was scary and shocking. I thought it was a drug or gun bust.”