Gunman

By Mike Morris and Bill Montgomery, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

November 11, 1997

Police were searching Fort McPherson today for a gunman who chased two people into the emergency ward waiting room at Griffin-Spalding County Regional Hospital and shot them in front of stunned patients and hospital employees.

The suspect shot and killed Marcus Jester, 41, and seriously wounded his 20-year-old daughter, Benita Jester, Monday night, said Griffin police spokesman James Landham.

The gunman, identified as Areguss Anton Clark, fled in his 1986 Pontiac Bonneville, then ran into a 1997 Mercury driven by Patricia Miller about 1.5 miles from the hospital at North Eighth and Cherry streets. Miller was not badly injured in the wreck, which heavily damaged both vehicles, Landham said.

After the wreck, the gunman started walking north on Eighth Street, Landham said. "He encountered a man either around the car that the female was in or in the immediate area, and for some unknown reason, shot the male subject in the leg," Landham said.

The wounded bystander, Dwight Harris Jr., 27, was hospitalized today at the Griffin-Spalding hospital. Benita Jester was taken by helicopter to Crawford Long Hospital in Atlanta and was in critical but stable condition.

After that shooting, the suspect "somewhere came across another vehicle, we're not sure where, and went on to the north side of [Griffin] and then had access to a gray or silver Isuzu Trooper," Landham said. That vehicle was found wrecked and abandoned today near the west corner of the parking lot at MARTA's Lakewood-Fort McPherson station, said MARTA spokeswoman Laura Gillig.

When East Point police Officer G.J. Roberson pulled up to investigate the Trooper at 7:10 a.m., a man jumped out, ran to the nearby fence surrounding Fort McPherson, and climbed over.

Gillig said the search for the suspect had not affected train operations at the rail station.

Fort McPherson, however, was shut down and the gates to the Army base near East Point were closed as police searched for Clark but a three-hour search of the base turned up nothing and East Point police said late this morning he no longer was believed to be on the base.

About a dozen subcontractors for a software company had come to Fort McPherson to work today, but the military police wouldn't let them onto the base.

"The MPs just told us there's an armed person on the base and the post is closed, so we're just waiting," said Clyde Clark of Acworth.

"We do have a lot of work to do, if we can just get to it," said Stephen Gundersen of Decatur, another of the subcontractors.

Another man, who refused to give his name to reporters, said he had come to play golf at the post golf course and couldn't get on the base.

Areguss Clark, 20, is originally from Atlanta but had been living in Griffin. Police obtained warrants for malice murder, felony murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, Landham said.

Police said the suspect is a former acquaintance of Benita Jester.

Police said they know the suspect by his nickname and are searching for him. They declined to release information on the suspect, but confirmed that the suspect's former girlfriend was one of the shooting victims.