9-Year-Old Boy Shot In East Atlanta, Latest Young Victim In Widening Violence
A 9-year-old boy was shot multiple times late Wednesday in the popular East Atlanta Village, becoming the latest young victim in widening violence across the city, authorities said.
Atlanta police said an argument between a large group of people quickly escalated into shots being fired. The boy was recovering Thursday in a hospital with wounds to his leg, police said. Two men were also shot and transported to another hospital.
With the city reeling from a spate of shootings over the July Fourth holiday, including one that left an 8-year-old girl dead, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on Thursday urged for calm.
“If you are out and things are feeling volatile and it seems like it’s headed in the wrong direction, please remove yourself," she told MSNBC. “What we are seeing in Atlanta, we are having these shootings with mass gatherings and multiple shooters. That is not something we have experienced on this scale in this city.”
The mayor said police are looking at ramping up patrols in neighborhoods. She also expressed concern about multiple factors contributing to the recent violence, from thousands of people losing their jobs to people dying of COVID-19.
“It’s boiling up and it’s spilling out and, unfortunately, innocent children and lives are being lost," the mayor said.
East Atlanta Village is a popular area with shops, restaurants and bars.
Police said when they arrived on sceene they found several people shot, including the 9-year-old boy. The shooting happened around Flat Shoals Road in front of several bars and restaurants.
The child was taken to Children’s Health Care of Atlanta at Hughes Spalding and treated for bullet wounds in both of his legs; the other two men were treated at Grady Memorial Hospital, police said.
One of the men was shot in the back; the other man was struck in the hand, police said. None of the injuries were expected to be life-threatening, according to authorities.
Over the holiday weekend, more than 30 people were wounded in an array of shootings, with five people getting killed. Among those who lost their lives was 8-year-old Secoriea Turner who was shot in her vehicle near the Wendsy's where Rayshard Brooks was killed by police weeks earlier.
"It’s heartbreaking that this beautiful 8-year-old child was killed in the violence," the mayor said.
A $20,000 reward has been offered for any information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.
The recent shootings prompted Gov. Brian Kemp to declare a state of emergency for Atlanta, saying the city has "grappled with countless threats to public safety with riots, extensive property destruction and human injury in multiple communities" in recent weeks and that city leaders "failed to quell ongoing violence."
The Republican governor said up to 1,000 National Guard troops could be activated to free up police to patrol Atlanta and other communities.
"Peaceful protests were hijacked by criminals with a dangerous, destructive agenda," Kemp said. "Enough with the tough talk, we must protect the lives and livelihoods of all Georgians."