Wednesday, March 16, 2005


Atlanta Courthouse Murders - Early Opportunities Wasted

Link Police apparently missed an opportunity to trap Brian G. Nichols in a downtown parking garage just minutes after Friday's courthouse shooting spree — the first of several lost chances to catch him that day.

Two attendants at Five Points Garage said they heard a sport utility vehicle driven by Nichols smash through the gate and screech into the garage. Atlanta police units were just seconds behind.

The attendants said they twice tried to show officers how to block the only exits from the garage at Wall and Peachtree streets, three blocks from the Fulton County Courthouse. Instead, a motorcycle officer and two squad cars sped into the structure after Nichols, leaving no one to watch for him at street level.

Seconds later, Nichols calmly walked down a stairwell and out of the garage with two handguns tucked in his pants, the attendants said Monday. "He kept looking back to the steps," said attendant Frank Holston. A second attendant confirmed the story but would not give his name.

Police asked, " 'Which way did he go?' " Holston recalled.

"I told them this is the only way he can get out, down here, but they didn't listen. They could have gotten him here, but they didn't. All of them went up behind him."

Atlanta police spokesman John Quigley said he was unaware of the exchange but said the department would review its actions at the garage.

The attendants said they had not been questioned by police as of Monday.

It is apparent they have inadequate training in chases and in searches. It is amazing that they didn't have one officer stay on the scene to get statements from these attendants at the time, they would have been able to establish that Nichols left on foot. This also means that, more than likely, Chief Pennington's protestations that they had witnesses saying he left by car, were untrue. It is more damning that they still have not sent someone to interview the attendants. They still don't know who all of the participants are in this case.

Holy cow. This is terrible. Who are these guys?
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