- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 1, 2015

ATLANTA (AP) — Police officers ducked behind cars as gunshots whizzed through a busy part of downtown Atlanta, where authorities say the gunbattle killed a South Carolina man.

The shootout was near the Aloft Atlanta Downtown hotel — a few blocks from many of the city’s larger, high-rise convention hotels and offices that help fuel the city’s billion-dollar hospitality and tourism industry.

“Gunshots were coming from every angle,” witness Bryceton O’Neal told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Cops were running behind cars, taking cover.”

An Atlanta officer was patrolling downtown when a Jeep was spotted driving the wrong way, police Maj. Adam Lee III told local news outlets. When the officer attempted to stop the Jeep, the vehicle sped up, struck a shuttle bus and then hit a pole, Lee said. Two people jumped from the vehicle and ran.

The driver was arrested almost immediately, Lee said. The passenger ran behind a hotel and exchanged gunfire with officers, Lee said. Darius Smith, 18, of Greer, South Carolina, was found dead behind a trash bin authorities said.

“We see this car blow right through the intersection and it smacked this (hotel shuttle) bus,” witness JohnPaul Wegener told The Journal-Constitution. “There were police cars everywhere.

“We started to hear gunshots — pow, pow, pow — it was pretty scary,” Wegener added.

Officers found a duffel bag full of marijuana in the Jeep, police said. They also found two guns in the vehicle, and one with Smith, they said.

The name of the driver wasn’t immediately released.

Police were still working on their report Tuesday, and no further details were released, Atlanta police Officer Kim Jones said.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which investigates some officer-involved shootings when agencies make a request, is not investigating this case, GBI spokesman Scott Dutton told The Associated Press. Dutton said no request had been made.

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