ATLANTA - The food delivery driver believed to have opened fire and killed a customer over the weekend in Buckhead will remain behind bars after making his first appearance Tuesday morning.
The Atlanta Police Department issued a warrant for the arrest of 36-year-old Robert Bivines Monday for the felony murder of 30-year-old Atlanta resident Ryan Thornton. Bivines made arraignments to turn himself into police that afternoon.
Bivines, appearing before a Fulton County magistrate on Tuesday, was denied bond.
According to the Atlanta Police Department, Thornton ordered delivery from UberEATS Saturday night and went outside The Concorde to pick up his food at around 11:30 p.m.
Bivines’ attorney claims the customer was the aggressor. Jackie Patterson said Thorton became upset because the delivery was late. The pair argued and Thornton snatched the food, according to the attorney. Patterson said the customer made a verbal threat, then made a motion reaching into his clothing. Bivines then drew his weapon, said Patterson.
Witnesses told investigators that he and the driver exchanged words and someone inside the car opened fire striking Thornton multiple times. The white Volkswagen then left the scene.
Paramedics transported Thornton to Grady Memorial Hospital where he later died.
A man who served in the military with the delivery driver said it would have been instinctive for him to respond with deadly force if Bivines is accurately describing the altercation. Faced with fighting words and the reported hand of the customer going into the jacket, the fellow Marine believes Bivines went back to his training.
Megan Emery has lived in the building for than a year and said while she heard the commotion Saturday night, she did not know it was gunshots. Management at The Concorde, Emery said, sent out a notice to tenants Sunday afternoon.
"It's a little scary. I mean, there's a lot of young women that live in this apartment and we have really good security. So, you just don't ever think that something like that could happen," said Emery. "I probably won't be using delivery food service anytime soon just for peace of mind."
"We are shocked and saddened by this news," a spokesperson for Uber said in a statement to FOX 5. "We are working with Atlanta Police, and our hearts go out the families of those involved."
Uber reiterated Bivines was a UberEATS driver and did not drive passengers.
Thornton was a graduate of Frederick Douglass High School and Morehouse College in Atlanta.
Bivines, who is being held at the Fulton County Jail, is scheduled to make his next court appearance on March 6.