Sandy Springs Police have identified the victim as Melvin Vernell III, 19. That’s the same name as an Atlanta rapper or the same age who goes by the name ‘Lil Phat.’
Fellow rapper ‘Webbie,’ who recently collaborated with Lil Phat sent a Twitter message to more than 217,000 people who follow him on the social networking site that reads, “#RIPLILPHAT.” An earlier Twitter message from Webbie said, “RIP TO MY LIL BROTHER PHAT!
Fellow Trill ENT label mates Foxx, Webbie, and Lil Trill all posted tweets last night confirming his death.
The shooting caused Northside Hospital to go on lockdown Thursday evening after the shooting in the parking deck near the women’s center.
“In a case like this where there’s a potential shooting on the campus we lock down all the hospital facilities, no one is allowed to leave or enter the building,” said Russ Davis, spokesman for Northside.
Sandy Springs police said they were called shortly after 6:30 p.m. They said Vernell, of Sandy Springs, was shot multiple times in his car on the second floor of the parking deck outside the Labor and Delivery wing of the hospital.
Officers said witnesses told them at least two people ran from the scene. Vernell was rushed into Northside Hospital where police said he later died.
The hospital said it went off lockdown around 8:30 p.m.
“Everybody needs to feel comfortable that they’re safe. The are has been secured. It has been searched completely and thoroughly,” Davis said.
Officers said they had no information that the victim or shooter was connected to the hospital.
The shooter remains on the loose.
This is what the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting:
“A 19-year-old man was shot and fatally wounded Thursday night outside Northside Hospital in Sandy Springs, and police were seeking an attacker who may have been seen running from the scene.
Police identified the victim as Melvin Vernell III, of Corbin Lake Court in Sandy Springs. A motive for the shooting was not known.
The incident happened about 6:40 p.m. in the 1001 block of Johnson Ferry Road, Sandy Springs police said. A man was found shot multiple times in a car parked on the second level of a parking deck off Hollis Cobb Drive next to the Northside Hospital Women’s Center.
The victim was taken to nearby Northside Hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later.
Witnesses indicated to investigators that they saw at least one suspect running from the parking deck toward Johnson Ferry Road. Police said that as Thursday night they knew of no connection between the shooting and the hospital or its Women’s Center.
The parking deck has video surveillance cameras but it was not known if they captured any useful images.
One of the visitors who found themselves caught up in the lockdown was state Sen. Charlie Bethel (R-Dalton).
“We arrived around 6:30 to visit my brother and sister-in-law – my wife’s family had baby today at Northside Women’s Center – and as we arrived, there was a disturbance in the parking lot,” Bethel told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in a phone interview.
“As we entered the hospital, we were escorted to an empty patient room with other visitors,” he said. “Another family said that as they were beginning to leave, they heard shots and were hurried back into the hospital.”
Hospital officials, Bethel said, “just asked us to go, close the doors and stay away from the windows”
The visitors were let out of the room about 8:30 p.m., he said.”