UPDATE: 7:30 a.m.: Suspect ID’d as Matthew Thomas, Jr.

UPDATE: Suspect has surrendered at Clayton County Sector 3 per Chief Kevin Roberts; CCBOE chair Jessie Goree left store minutes before shooting

A heavy law enforcement presence surrounds the Riverdale Walmart on Georgia Highway 85 and Lamar Hutcheson Parkway in Riverdale Thursday evening after one man shot another in the meat section.

Matthew Thomas, Jr., 18, of Hampton, is charged with aggravated assault, according to Riverdale Police Chief Todd Spivey, who told The Clayton Crescent the two men apparently got into a dispute. The suspect then “fled on foot,” Spivey said. He did not know the victim’s condition as of press time. Thomas is being held without bond at the Clayton County Jail.

Clayton County Police Chief Kevin Roberts confirmed to the Clayton Crescent that the suspect has turned himself in at CCPD’s Sector 3 precinct.

About two dozen cars from multiple agencies, including the Riverdale, Clayton County, South Fulton, and Jonesboro Police Departments, along with ATF agents, U.S. Marshals, the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office, and the Georgia State Patrol surrounded the Walmart, blue lights flashing, as passing motorists slowed down to see what was going on:

YouTube video

A man named Vince said he heard the men talking, then the gunshots:

YouTube video

Spivey issued this statement:

“On Thursday, July 7, 2022, at approximately 6:05 pm, Officers responded to a call for assistance at 7050 Highway 85 (Walmart). An off-duty Riverdale Officer working an approved part-time job at same said location called for assistance after hearing gunshots coming from inside the store. Units from Riverdale Police Department, Clayton County Police Department, Jonesboro Police Department, South Fulton Police Department, ATF, U.S. Marshalls and the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office responded to assist by clearing and evacuating the store. We know one male subject has been shot and transported to a hospital and believe the shooter (suspect) exited the store on foot. An examination of the in-store video surveillance revealed a possible disturbance between two males in the meat department, one male is the suspect and the other is the victim. The location is still an active crime scene. I have no additional information at this time.”

Clayton County Board of Education Chair Jessie Goree had just left the Walmart minutes before the incident when she got a call from a friend.

“She asked me, ‘Are you out of Walmart?’ I said, ‘Yes, why?’ Well, God is good, because I just got out of there. I’ve got to the point where I go into these places with all these crazy people around, I look all around for the exits.”

Robin Kemp is executive editor and CEO of The Clayton Crescent, which she founded in 2020. She has worked for Gambit, CNN, The Weather Channel, Clayton News, Henry Herald, and numerous freelance outlets....

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