Updated May 3, 2023 at 4:53 PM ET

A 39-year-old woman was killed and four other women were injured after a gunman opened fire in a downtown Atlanta medical office building, police said. The shooter is still at large and considered armed and dangerous, the Atlanta Police Department said.

Police say the alleged gunman is a 24-year-old man.

At least three of the injured victims were sent to Grady Memorial Hospital and are in critical condition, according to Dr. Robert Jansen, the hospital's chief of staff, who briefed the media Wednesday afternoon.

The injured victims, all women, aged 71, 56, 39 and 25, Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum said in a news conference. It's unclear if these victims were specifically targeted by the gunman or if they are employees or patients of the medical practice, he said.

Shortly after noon ET, police received calls of the shooting in the waiting room in one of the offices in Northside Hospital Midtown Medical, Schierbaum said. The alleged gunman's mother was with him at the time, but was not one of the injured, he said.

The family of the alleged shooter is cooperating with law enforcement, he said.

The chief said the suspect has had "minimal contact" with the police department. He said police have not yet found the gun involved in the shooting.

Several law enforcement agencies joined the search

Officials don't believe the alleged shooter is still in the area of the shooting, police said. Several law enforcement agencies from the Atlanta region as well as federal agencies are involved in the investigation and manhunt.

The police department has since lifted the shelter in place advisory, but urged people to stay away from the area of the investigation and from the suspect if they see him.

Schierbaum said witnesses have called in with reports of sightings of the alleged suspect in Atlanta and elsewhere in Cobb County.

Police released photos of the alleged shooter that appear to have been taken by security cameras. The individual is wearing a light-colored sweatshirt with the hood pulled over and dark pants. Many of the photos have this person's face largely obscured with a face mask.

The APD is also investigating a link between the gunman and a carjacking that occurred near the site of the shooting not long after the incident. Police have since recovered the vehicle, Schierbaum said.

Northside Hospital said it's cooperating with law enforcement's investigation.

"We urge people in the area to shelter in place and follow instructions from law enforcement on the scene," the hospital tweeted. "This tragedy is affecting all of us, and we ask for patience and prayers at this time."

A witness recalls the scene after the shooting

KJ Johnson told reporters that he was in the Northside medical building for his son's medical appointment when the shooting took place.

He said he heard pops while in the office waiting room, but mistook them for a motorcycle backfiring. It was the office TV in the waiting room that alerted Johnson and the other patients of the attack.

"At that time, we had no idea there was a shooting. But then the television was on and there was breaking news on the television. And they mentioned that there was an active shooter and they gave the address and the address was the building that we were in," Johnson said outside the building.

The shooting took place just two floors above him, he recounted.

"We were in the ninth floor. So once everyone heard the shooting happened on the 11th floor, you can imagine that some of the folks in the room got a little nervous, a little tense," he said.

Johnson said everyone kept calm and the medical staff in the office ushered people into a secure back room while they waited for police to arrive to escort them out.

The medical staff "didn't make the matter worse by making it seem like there was some imminent threat to our health," he said.

Johnson managed to assist a patient with limited mobility walk down the nine flight of stairs to safety once he and others were evacuated.

WABE's Lisa Hagen contributed reporting.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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