Police are looking for 24-year-old Deion Patterson, who is believed to be the gunman captured on security cameras, authorities said.
Patterson fled in a vehicle and was later abandoned, Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum told reporters.
Authorities said several police agencies in Atlanta, Fulton County and neighboring Cobb County were on high alert for the armed suspect.
“He was able to flee the scene as law enforcement agents descended on the area,” Scheerbaum told reporters. “We believe he has left the area.”
According to Schierbaum, the shooting happened in the medical center’s waiting room around 12:08 p.m.
All the women victims were not immediately identified.
The critically injured was 39, and the injured were ages 71, 56, 39 and 25, Schierbaum said. It was not immediately clear whether the victims were patients or hospital staff.
“It’s still too early to know why these people were chosen,” Schierbaum said of the victims.
Police released images of the suspect who is “still at large”. He was later identified as Patterson.
If anyone sees Patterson, they are asked to call 911 and not engage with him.
Police told NBC News that Patterson was at the medical facility with his mother for an appointment.
A woman who answered a number associated with the suspect’s mother declined to answer questions and handed the phone to an Atlanta police officer.
The chief said the shooter’s mother was unharmed in the shooting and her family is cooperating with investigators.
The four injured, all adults, were taken to Grady Memorial Hospital, where three were listed in critical condition, Chief Medical Officer Robert Johnson told reporters.
The hospital was mobilized for a possible “mass casualty event” and prepared to treat 12 shooting victims, Johnson added.
“Within minutes, we had multiple trauma surgeons, multiple staff” ready to shoot victims, Johnson said. “We were fully prepared, we were expecting up to 12 patients, luckily we only got four.”
An address published by police matched a location Northern Medical Facility It has a cancer center, an orthopedic institute, a radiology department and more.
“Northern Hospital is cooperating with law enforcement following a shooting at our midtown #Atlanta location this afternoon.” The health agency said. “We are asking people in the area to shelter in place and follow the directions of law enforcement at the scene.”
Within minutes of the police alert, the barricade at the facility was flooded with squad cars and ambulances.
There were few pedestrians on the street, which is usually the lunch rush in Atlanta’s midtown neighborhood, lined with hotels, museums and restaurants.
Peachtree Street, Atlanta’s main thoroughfare, is lined with bars, comedy clubs, shops and a variety of restaurants.
Atlanta Public Schools announced that nearby campuses were on lockdown following the shooting. Officials said.
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were notified of the shooting, spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said.
This is a growing story. Check back for updates.