ATLANTA — An arrest has been made in connection with a fatal stabbing that happened 15 minutes into the new year at the Five Points MARTA station, a MARTA spokesman confirmed.
MARTA Police Chief Wanda Dunham said Tommy Christopher Collins, 36, was arrested at his apartment complex Monday morning. Dunham said Collins has a criminal record and was taken into custody without incident.
The victim’s mother, Deunya Taylor, told Channel 2 Action News reporter Tony Thomas that her son, Reuban Hand, was just 14 years old.
“I’ve been in contact with Rueben’s mother to express MARTA’s deepest condolences and to keep the family updated on the progress of this investigation,” said Dunham.
MARTA police said a fight just outside the fare gates on the Peachtree Street side of the station led to the teenager’s killing. Taylor said a man angry about a missing cell phone suddenly approached her son and stabbed him in the neck. Dunham did not give a motive for the slaying, only saying that the incident remains under investigation. Dunham did say, however, that there are no other suspects.
“We are clear that this is our suspect,” said Dunham.
“Everybody loved him. You know, he touched everybody,” Taylor said. “I really just still don’t believe that my baby’s gone.”
“He took my baby over something my baby did not take from him,” Taylor told Thomas.
About 100,000 people rang in the New Year in downtown Atlanta at midnight Saturday.
MARTA police would not confirm a motive, but family members said detectives have surveillance video. Taylor and her mother pleaded for Hand’s killer to come forward.
Passersby near the crime scene said they were stunned by the incident.
“I didn’t expect this. It’s very frightening,” said Tracy Henson, who was in town for the annual Peach Drop countdown.
Henson stood outside the crime scene tape moments after the stabbing in shock. She had just escorted three 14-year-olds to the Peach Drop at Underground Atlanta.
“I thought we were very safe down here with the amount of security and police officers around,” Henson said.
In early December, Atlanta police and MARTA police teamed up to patrol the Five Points station and the surrounding area. The patrols are scheduled at various times of the day and night.
Officials said panhandlers and loiterers make the area appear unsafe, but they said crime levels have dropped at the station.
Some riders seemed shaken up as they waited for their trains.
“Blessed to know we are safe right now and praying we get home safely,” passenger Quintez Williams told Thomas.
Collins is charged with murder, two counts of aggravated assault and possession of a weapon during the commission of a crime.