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Alleged Midtown Shooter Undergoes Psychological Evaluation

Nkosi Thandiwe, who worked as a security guard, is charged in the triple shooting that killed one woman and left another paralyzed.

The security guard accused of shooting three women in Midtown just over a week ago, killed Brittney Watts of Roswell and leaving another paralyzed, is undergoing a psychiatric evaluation, according to his lawyer.

The attorney, Ricky Richardson, told Patch last Thursday that the evaluation of suspect NkosiThandiwe, 22, is likely to force the postponement of a scheduled appearance by his client in Fulton County Magistrate Court on July 29.

“I think the case will be continued until there is a medical evaluation that is appropriate in this case,” Richardson said. “And pending the medical professionals’ findings, we will proceed to our next step.”

Thandiwe is charged with murder in the shooting of Brittany Watts, 26, of Decatur, in the Proscenium building's parking deck on July 15. Atlanta police say he stole the victim's Prius and shot two other women as he fled the parking deck at 14th Street and Crescent Avenue. The car was later found in southwest Atlanta.

The shooting left 23-year-old Lauren Garcia paralyzed, and the Shepherd Center in Buckhead confirms that she was transferred to its intensive care unit. Another victim, Tiffany Ferenczy, 24, was shot in the leg and is expected to recover fully.

Thandiwe turned himself into law enforcement authorities later Friday afternoon. Police said he realized that he had been identified.

Friends and acquaintances of the suspect have expressed shock. They describe Thandiwe as coming from a well-respected family of high achievers and avid recreational runners.

But none of those contacted by Patch would discuss the case publicly out of respect to the family.

The Thandiwes live in a modest one-story house with a well-kept yard off Campbellton Road, where a stack of newspapers, including editions of the New York Times and Atlanta Business Chronicle, sat in a box by the front door.

Police officials have said little about Thandiwe, who was a security guard at the Proscenium building. Court records list him as living at his parents' home.

The security firm that employed him, Allied Barton Security Services, told tenants at the Proscenium that a pre-employment background check did not turn up any criminal past. The firm told tenants he had good references, a college education and that he "was in good standing with Allied."

It's unclear if there was any connection between the victim, who had worked at the Midtown office tower for about a month, and Thandiwe.

Thandiwe’s father, Iilonga, is a computer engineer, whose name has appeared on a variety of patent applications. His mother, Lynnae, is an attorney in a private practice, according to the State Bar of Georgia's online directory.

A search of federal court records shows that during her career, Lynnae Thandiwe handled multiple federal prison cases for the Southern Center for Human Rights, the anti-death penalty legal advocacy group.

According to an online biography, she is a graduate of Stanford University and the law school at the University of California at Berkeley.

The Thandiwes’ four children attended Atlanta public schools, according to the parents of classmates. Nkosi’s brother, Nthando, was a national honor society graduate of Benjamin E. Mays High School, according to a news release announcing a scholarship award for the sibling from the National Black Marathoners Association.

A sister, Nyamezela, placed second in the first Atlanta Brain Bee in 2001.

The family is well known in the community for their love of running.

Richardson, the attorney for Nkosi Thandiwe, declined to discuss details about the case or his client beyond the fact that a mental evaluation is under way.

Thandiwe is being held without bail in the Fulton County Jail.

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