A visitor accidentally fired a gun Dec. 5 inside the Neiman Marcus department store at Buckhead’s Lenox Square, adding to a year-long string of shootings at the mall that has rattled the community.
A man in the store was “adjusting his pants” while walking through the store and carrying a gun in the waistband of his pants, and that action triggered the gun to fire, according to the Atlanta Police Department. No one was injured, according to APD.
The man ran from the scene and APD is still attempting to identify and locate him.
Lenox Square, at 3393 Peachtree Road, has been the scene of several shootings and other gun incidents, including one homicide, in the past 12 months. One of them also happened inside Neiman Marcus, an October incident where a man fired a gun during an alleged robbery attempt. And last month, a man was shot inside the mall’s new Apple Store.
In March, a man was shot to death in the parking lot over what APD said may have been a dispute over a space; a suspect is charged with murder in that case.
Other incidents included a woman shot during a parking-garage robbery attempt in December 2019; a man shot by an APD officer in a parking garage in January during a possible attempt to retrieve a stolen item; and a man shot in the parking lot in February in a mysterious incident where two suspects appeared to take a suitcase from a car the victim had occupied.
The Lenox Square incidents, along with other gun violence around the neighborhood, have contributed to community-wide fears and were a factor in the recent creation of a “Buckhead Security Plan” by a team of officials and private organizations.
However, as that plan mentions and the accidental discharge illustrates, responsible gun-handling is also a big concern to APD. Commanding officers at Buckhead’s Zone 2 precinct have said that motor vehicle thefts and break-ins are among the few categories of local crime that are rising, largely because owners leave the vehicles unlocked or running. Firearms left unsecured in vehicles are often stolen as part of those thefts, officers have said, and may then be used in crimes.
“We urge gun owners to be responsible and we would recommend they leave their firearms at home while they are out shopping in public areas,” said Sgt. John Chafee, an APD spokesperson, in an email about the Lenox Square accidental gunshot. “Instances like this are unacceptable and we expect more from those who choose to carry firearms. Gun ownership is a responsibility no one should take lightly.”