ATLANTA — Officials say two people are dead after suspects in a stolen car trying to escape officers during a pursuit slammed head-on into another car Wednesday.
It happened around 2:30 p.m. near the intersections of Campbellton Road, Lee Street and Dill Avenue.
According to police, the chain of events was put into motion well before the end of the crash and started off as an armed carjacking.
Deputy Chief Jeff Glazier with the Atlanta Police Department said around 3:30 a.m., a man in a white Jeep Cherokee stopped at a Wells Fargo ATM off Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard to withdraw money. Glazier said while he was at the machine, he was approached by two armed men who stole his car.
Police had been looking for the car since that incident, and around 2:30 p.m., officers spotted the Jeep and began a pursuit.
Glazier said officers lost the suspects' trail a few times during the chase, but caught up to them a final time as they were speeding north on Lee Street. Police said the suspects sped through a red light there, near the intersection of Campbellton Road, and slammed head-on into another car, killing two people - both possibly men. Their names were not released at this time.
Photos: Head-on collision near Campbellton Road
Police said multiple other cars were involved in the crash, but the two suspects were the only ones who had to be transported. Glazier added that the two 19-year-old suspects were taken into custody. A handgun was recovered from inside the stolen car.
Video shared to 11Alive by Brandon Kirkland, who said he was on his way to work at Tyler Perry Studios, showed the aftermath of the crash - a mangled car that was unidentifiable.
Police chases have come under fire recently because of the risks involved, but Glazier said officers, in this case, were following protocol in pursuing the suspects because they knew the car had been taken in a carjacking - and the suspects were armed.
"We don't chase everyone. We're very strict on who we allow our officers do chase. In this case, since the vehicle was taken by gunpoint - it was a carjacking - we did allow the chase to continue," Glazier said.
"It's always risk versus reward," he added.
While police were able to bring the suspects into custody, Glazier said the severity of the scene left his officers rattled.
"The officers at the scene are shaken up," he said. "We had to bring in our EAP, which is a group that talks to some of our officers when they come into these types of situations. But, nobody wants to be here (in this situation)."
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