Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Gunman warned 'Get out my way, pimp'n'

A man shot and killed his former girlfriend inside the CNN Center complex in Atlanta, Georgia, Tuesday afternoon before being shot by a security officer, police said.

Witness Charles Williams was riding up the escalator toward the Omni Hotel lobby when he saw the man pulling his victim by her hair with his left hand.

She was screaming and crying and holding on to her hair close to her head with both hands, Williams said.

"I was walking directly toward them and he and I were eye-to-eye, and so I started looking at his right hand to see if he had something," said Williams.

The suspect warned Williams, "Get out my way, pimp'n."

"I knew you don't say that to someone unless you got something," Williams said, so he tried to see if the man was holding a weapon but couldn't see the man's right hand.

Williams moved out of the man's way and quickly motioned for the nearest security officer to come to him.

"I was saying, 'Come here quickly, come!' " Then Williams lost sight of the man and woman as they turned into a hallway outside the CNN.com newsroom.

The officer radioed in a disturbance report and soon other security officers were on the scene.

John Helton, a CNN.com producer, had a direct view of the gunman through glass doors. "I saw him coming down the escalator pulling her along, around the corner. He ran into the plant and that's when they started struggling," he said. (Read more witness accounts)

"She seemed to be trying to wrestle free of him," he said.

Helton said the woman appeared to be shot at point-blank range. "He looked like he had the gun right on top of her head and shot her." (Gallery: Scenes from the shooting)

After the shots, CNN.com writer Brad Lendon said, the gunman "looked around, his head turning in my direction. I don't know if he saw me, but at that moment the gravity of what I'd witnessed hit me. I turned away and tried to find the safest way I could out." (Watch Brad Lendon describe what he did next )

The gunman was then shot by Capt. Odell Adams, who joined Turner Security in 1996, according to a spokesperson for Turner, the parent company for CNN.

Preliminary reports indicate that the suspect was shot in the face, a law enforcement source said on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.

Investigators have not released a name, saying the man was not carrying any identification.

The shooting victim, 22-year-old Clara Riddles, was transported to Grady Memorial Hospital. Riddles died from her injuries.

The shooter was also taken to the hospital where he was undergoing surgery and was in "severely critical condition," the hospital said. (Watch suspect at gunpoint, wounded woman on floor )

Riddles was working Tuesday at the Omni Hotel where she had been employed for about a year, hotel spokesman Michael Sullivan said. She worked in the Honor Bar department restocking minibars in the rooms.

Riddles lived in the Atlanta suburb of College Park, according to Investigator Betty Honey of the Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office.

The gunman has not been named, but Atlanta police called the shooting a "domestic situation," and said the gunman was a former boyfriend of Riddles.

The CNN Center was particularly busy Tuesday, following Monday night's NCAA championship game in the nearby Georgia Dome.

One woman, who was visiting the CNN Center, said she saw security officers running with their guns drawn.

"The kids were pretty shaken up and it was pretty scary. And it wasn't until we came back in after the fact and looked up on the CNN screen that we had learned what had really happened," she said.

The CNN.com newsroom was temporarily evacuated. Some workers had already scrambled out of the building seeking cover after hearing shots.

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