TERENCE SMITH: Workers at the Piedmont Office Park in the Atlanta suburb of Buckhead were back on the job this morning, trying to come to terms with yesterday's massacre.
WORKER: It was horrible, and honestly I don't want to come to work today, but I think we should at least try to show up. And if they send us home because of mental stress, I think it would be a good idea.
TERENCE SMITH: This office complex housed the All-Tech investment group, where Mark Barton had spent time as a day trader, buying and selling stocks, minute by minute, over the computer. Shortly before 3 in the afternoon yesterday, Barton walked into the complex. Within minutes, he began shooting, killing five at the All-Tech office and four at another stock trading office nearby. By the time police and ambulances got there, Barton was gone. Less than 30 minutes after the office shootings, police went to Barton's apartment in nearby Stockbridge. There they found the bodies of Barton's 11-year-old son Matthew and his seven-year-old daughter Mychelle Elizabeth dead in their beds. The body of his wife, Leigh Ann, was found in a closet, covered with a blanket. Meanwhile, police were pursuing Barton in the northwest suburbs, along Interstate 75. Eventually, they tracked him down at a gas station. Atlanta Police Chief Beverly Harvard described the scene in a news conference today.
POLICE CHIEF BEVERLY HARVARD: Mr. Barton pulled into a B.P. service station. And at this point there were two officers there, and as the two officers approached the vehicle, they heard a gunshot. And when they opened the door, they found Mr. Barton. What we found in the vehicle, which we have custody of and we've taken custody of, was two handguns, a .45, and a 9-millimeter handgun. We believe that Mr. Barton actually shot himself with the .45. In addition, we found a duffle bag with a large amount of additional ammunition in the bag. The 9-millimeter handgun we've run a check on the gun itself, and that handgun belonged to Mr. Barton and it was registered to him or sold to him in November of 1993 out of a gun shop in Robins, Georgia. The .45 at this point in time, it is registered to a different person out of Texas. So we are not sure why or how Mr. Barton came into possession of that particular handgun.
TERENCE SMITH: In addition to the deaths, 13 people were injured during the shootings, four of whom remain in critical condition. This afternoon, authorities released tape recordings of the first panicked calls to Atlanta's 911.
DISPATCHER: This is 911.
WOMAN: Quick, we've got an emergency at Piedmont Center.
DISPATCHER: We already got the police and the ambulances out.
WOMAN: Hurry. There's a lady that's down. Send an ambulance quick.
DISPATCHER: Ma'am, we've got everybody here out.
WOMAN: Okay, fine.
WOMAN: Someone has been shot. She says other people are dead. I have no idea what else is going on.
DISPATCHER: We're on the way.
WOMAN: You're on the way?
TERENCE SMITH: President Clinton, attending a Balkans summit in Sarajevo today, spoke of the tragedy.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Our thoughts today primarily are with the families of the victims, and those still struggling for their lives in the hospital. I am pleased with the work federal authorities have done. The Vice President has been back home coordinating. I think we have done a good job of that working with the state and local officials. But in terms of what could or should have been done or what this means for other issues, I think we have to wait until all the facts are in. I don't believe I have enough to make a judgment there.
TERENCE SMITH: Back in Atlanta, Henry County Police Chief Jimmy Mercer read portions of four notes found with the bodies in the Barton apartment. In one, Barton denies killing his first wife and her mother in 1993. He was a suspect in those cases, but never charged.
POLICE CHIEF JIMMY MERCER: "Leigh Ann is in the master bedroom closet under a blanket. I killed her on Tuesday night. I killed Matthew and Mychelle Wednesday night. There may be similarities between these deaths and the death of my first wife, Deborah Spivey. However, I deny killing her and her mother. There is no reason for me to lie now."
TERENCE SMITH: In a gruesome passage, Barton described how he killed his wife and children.
POLICE CHIEF JIMMY MERCER: "I hit them with a hammer in their sleep, and then put them face down in the bathtub to make sure they did not wake up in pain, to make sure they were dead. I'm so sorry. I wish I didn't. I don't plan to live very much longer, just long enough to kill as many of the people that brutally sought my destruction." And the last sentence states "you should kill me if you can."
TERENCE SMITH: A city-wide interfaith memorial service for the victims of Barton's rampage will be held in Atlanta next Wednesday.