Armed man in body armor charged after walking into Atlantic Station grocery store, police say

The man taken into custody Wednesday afternoon after police said he walked into a grocery store wearing body armor and armed with five guns has been charged. Police also said their investigation into a suspicious package at the same location just hours after his detainment has ended.

Rico Marley, 22, was booked into the Fulton County jail on charges of reckless conduct just hours after walking into the Publix Supermarket located inside Atlantic Station. Atlanta police said managers called 911 around 1:30 p.m. after a shopper spotted the man entering the store and going into the bathroom.

Police said officers were able to detain the man as soon as he exited the bathroom. He was armed with three handguns and two rifles, police said.

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Officers surrounding the Atlantic Station Publix after police said a man wearing body armor and carrying multiple firearms entered the grocery store on the afternoon of March 24, 2021. (FOX 5)

Grady EMS was called to the scene to conduct a mental evaluation of Marley, police said.

Police have not released a motive for Marley's actions.

Police said just before 5 p.m., officers received a report of a suspicious package. The area was immediately shut down, closing shops in the normally bustling shopping center. 


Rico Marley (Fulton County)

"The call has been cleared. Inside the bag was clothing and other miscellaneous items," police said.

It was not immediately clear if the bag was linked to Marley or the earlier incident at the grocery store.

Marley has been charged with six counts of possession of a firearm during the attempt to commit a felony, and five counts of criminal attempt to commit a felony,

Atlantic Station issued the following statement regarding the incident:

"At the request of the APD, we have shut down the interior shopping district streets at Atlantic Station and the parking deck to ensure the safety of the community as authorities investigate the suspicious package found onsite. We are closely monitoring the situation alongside APD, and we will reopen as soon as possible. The safety of the Atlantic Station community is of utmost importance."

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Police block of the interior shopping district at Atlantic Station during a suspicious package investigation on March 24, 2021. (FOX 5)

People said they were confused and scared watching the police activity followed by the bomb squad arriving.

"It looks like they’re were searching everyone’s car. The guy had on like armor and it was scary and shocking. I thought it was a drug or gun bust," a shopper told FOX 5 Atlanta.

"It’s scary knowing you can’t go anywhere outside of your house without being worried that people are going to shoot you,"  a pair of shoppers said.

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Police log in evidence in front of the Atlantic Station Publix after an armed man wearing armor walks into the store on March 24, 2021. (FOX 5)

Shoppers said the shootings Atlanta-area spa shootings and the King Soopers in Boulder, Colorado had them on high alert.

"It’s scary because you know you’re looking at just simple tasks that you don’t think anything of. Like my daughter and I just shopping. The last thing we’re thinking about is a bomb threat. We’re walking, trying to shop, trying to figure out something to eat and it’s like so in that instant, if it was an actual shooter, we really could have been taken out and not even knowing that as going on," one shopper said.

No one was injured during either incident on Wednesday.

Police said the investigation continues.

This story is developing. Check back for details. If you have additional information, pictures, or video email