Sandy Springs, Ga. June 8 2012
A man who was shot several times at Northside Hospital in Sandy Springs on Thursday night has died.
Investigators said Melvin Vernell III was found shot inside a car that was parked in the second-level parking deck off Hollis Cobb Drive adjacent to the Northside Hospital Women’s Center.
A nurse told Channel 2′s Amy Napier Viteri the man was rushed to the emergency room. Police confirmed later in the evening the man died from his injuries.
The hospital was put on lockdown for more than an hour. Officers are currently looking for the shooter.
Friday morning, police told Channel 2′s Darryn Moore that they still have not found a reason why Vernell, 19, was shot and they do not know why he was at the hospital.
Police said Vernell is also known as Lil’ Phat.
Detectives are scouring surveillance footage from the parking deck for clues. Witnesses said two men ran from the parking deck after the shooting.
A hospital spokesperson said the shooting is not connected to the hospital.
One of the visitors who found themselves caught up in the lockdown was state Sen. Charlie Bethel, R-Dalton.
“We arrived around 6:30 to visit my brother and sister-in-law; my wife’s family had baby today at Northside Women’s Center. And, as we arrived, there was a disturbance in the parking lot,” Bethel told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in a phone interview.
“As we entered the hospital, we were escorted to an empty patient room with other visitors,” he said. Hospital officials, he said, “just asked us to go, close the doors and stay away from the windows.”
The visitors were still there at 8 p.m., waiting for someone to explain what was happening and tell them it was safe to come out.
“My brother-in-law upstairs says a nurse told them there apparently was a shooting in the parking lot,” Bethel said. “Another family said that as they were beginning to leave, they heard shots and were hurried back into the hospital.”