ATLANTA | A worker at an Atlanta grocery store heard “clicking sounds,” and it sounded to him like someone was loading weapons inside a restroom stall, he told police. Then he saw an an “AR-15-style rifle” leaning against the wall.
The sharp-eyed Instacart worker is getting credit for helping officers to stop the man wearing body armor and carrying a half-dozen guns from roaming through the Publix grocery store Wednesday, police said.
The new details are included in police incident reports released Thursday by Atlanta police. The man’s intentions are not explained in the reports.
The worker, Charles Russell, “heard clicking sounds from the bathroom stall,” a police report states. “It sounded to him like someone was loading firearms.”
Russell then alerted a manager at the store, urging him to call 911.
Two Atlanta police officers arrived. One grabbed a rifle from his patrol car, put on a ballistic helmet and went into the store, where he apparently surprised the armed man as he came around the corner from the restroom.
“I immediately ordered the accused to put his hands up and don’t move to which he complied,” the officer wrote in his report. “The accused appeared to be surprised when he saw us that close to him.”
Officers then arrested Rico Marley, 22, without a shot being fired.
The pistols he had were loaded with rounds in chambers, and a revolver was also fully loaded, the officer wrote. He then looked inside Marley’s bag and found a loaded AR-15-style rifle and a loaded shotgun, said the officer, who noted that the suspect was wearing body armor.
Marley waived his initial court hearing Thursday. He’s charged with five counts of criminal attempt to commit a felony; and six counts of possession of a firearm during commission of a felony, police said.
Investigators also said Marley was undergoing a psychiatric evaluation. It’s unclear whether he had an attorney.
Russell told WSB-TV that when he saw the man in the store’s bathroom, he immediately thought of Monday’s mass shooting at a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colorado that left 10 people dead.
“It possibly could have stopped something,” Russell told the TV station.
Marley’s arrest also happened days after eight people were fatally shot at three massage businesses in the Atlanta area.
Police have been working to determine what exactly Marley planned to do with the arsenal. There were no reports of Marley pointing a weapon or using a weapon before authorities arrived.
Martin reported from Marietta, Georgia.
This story has been corrected to reflect that the shooting in Boulder, Colorado, occurred on Monday, not Tuesday.