A man was arrested Wednesday after entering a Publix supermarket in Atlanta with six loaded firearms and a bulletproof vest, police said. The man, whom Atlanta police identified as Rico Marley, 22, was charged Thursday with five counts of criminal attempt to commit a felony and six counts of possession of a firearm while committing or attempting to commit. certain serious crimes.
Police did not provide specific evidence that Marley planned to carry out a shooting at the store that day. But the incident came about in the wake of two mass shootings that have rocked the nation and sparked widespread calls for gun reform: thein Boulder, Colorado, which and a at three Atlanta-area spas that killed eight.
On Thursday, police released a photo of the weapons Marley was allegedly carrying when he was arrested.
Atlanta police said Wednesday that a preliminary investigation revealed that Marley entered the store Wednesday afternoon with a rifle openly and entered a bathroom. A witness noticed it and alerted the store manager, who then called the police. Police said they responded to the incident shortly after 1:30 pm and “immediately detained” Marley when he emerged from the bathroom. Emergency medical responders also arrived at the scene for a mental health assessment.
Marley carried an AR-15-style rifle and a 12-gauge shotgun in a bag, and four pistols under his clothing, according to an incident report released Thursday by Atlanta police. All six firearms were loaded, and Marley was wearing armor and a balaclava when he was detained, according to the report. Police did not report any injuries or shots.
The individual who reported Marley to the Publix manager told police he “heard clicking sounds in the bathroom” at the store and “sounded like someone was loading firearms,” according to the incident report. He also claimed to have seen an AR-15 style rifle “leaning against the wall.”
Publix said in a statement that its Atlantic Station location is cooperating with police in the investigation.
“We are grateful that there were no injuries and everyone was able to leave the store safely,” Publix said. “The store is currently closed. Additional questions should be directed to the Atlanta Police Department.”
Later Wednesday, Atlantic Station, the upscale retail area where Publix is located, said it was closing while authorities investigated a suspicious package found at the location. It is unclear if the package is linked to the previous incident.
“We are closely monitoring the situation together with APD, and will reopen as soon as possible,” an Atlantic Station spokesperson tweeted Wednesday night. “The safety of the Atlantic Station community is of the utmost importance.”
Firearm licenses in Georgia allow people to “legally carry a concealed firearm” in the state, according to the state’s website. It’s unclear if Marley had a license, but in 2019, Publixof retailers who asked customers not to carry guns inside their stores even if it was legally allowed in the state.