Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has said “enough is enough” after an 8-year-old year was fatally shot Saturday night near the Wendy’s where Rayshard Brooks was gunned down by police.
Secoriea Turner was in the car with her mother and another adult when an armed individual shot into the vehicle, police say. It was a particularly turbulent weekend for Atlanta as the city reported 31 shooting victims — of whom five died — in 11 separate incidents from Friday through Sunday, Atlanta Police Department spokesperson Steve Avery told TIME. Atlanta’s mayor and police chief remarked that Saturday in particular saw an unusually high levels of gun violence. “911 was flooded last night,” Bottoms said.
Bottoms spoke out about Secoriea’s death at a press conference on Sunday and emphasized that the child’s death occurred “not by the hands of police officers” but as a result of “members of the community shooting each other.”
“There are peaceful demonstrators across this city and across this country, and I applaud them and I thank them for being peaceful and for honoring the lives of so many people who have been killed in America because of injustice,” Bottoms said. “But this random wild, wild West, shoot ’em up because you can, it has got to stop. It has to stop.”
Bottoms said that “change has to happen.” “Police reform is a big part of it but we’ve also got to reform our own communities,” she added.
Police are offering a $10,000 reward for information that helps lead to an arrest and indictment as they search for suspects, Avery tells TIME.
Interim Atlanta Police Department Chief Rodney Bryant said the incident occurred just before 10 p.m. on Saturday, adding that there were six shooting incidents on Saturday night alone, in which 23 individuals were struck by gunfire and at least three were killed.
Officers were dispatched to the area as Secoriea was driven to the hospital in the same car she was shot in. She received treatment at the hospital but succumbed to her injuries, Bryant said.
Bryant said the driver was trying to enter the parking lot when he was confronted by a group of armed individuals who had blocked the entrance. “At some point, someone in the group opened fire on the vehicle striking it multiple times, striking the child who was inside” Bryant said
Secoriea’s parents were both visibly distraught at the press conference.
Charmaine Turner, Secoriea’s mother, said that her daughter would have “been on TikTok dancing, on her phone, just got finished eating” if she were still alive.
“You killed an 8-year-old child. She just wanted to get home and see her cousins. That’s all she wanted to do,” Secoriea’s father, Secoriya Williamson, said.
Georgia governor Brian Kemp also weighed in on Secoriea’s death Sunday, saying “this recent trend of lawlessness is outrageous & unacceptable.”
Bottoms also sent a stern message to those gathering at the protest site at Saturday’s press conference. “We’re not having any more discussions. It’s over,” she said. “If you are looking to be a part of a solution and not the problem you’re going to have to clear out of that area because (…) at the point that an 8 year-old-baby is killed, the discussions have ended.” Atlanta Police Department spokesperson Steve Avery confirmed to TIME that officers are assisting in clearing the memorial area as of Monday morning.
A group of protesters who have frequently been showing up to a memorial site created outside the Wendy’s where Brooks died condemned the killing in a video statement and said “no one from our group was involved in any way whatsoever in the shooting.”
A woman who identified herself as Lady A said in the video that the group would “like to extend our deepest condolences to the bereaved family and friends of the young 8-year-old girl.” “We stand with you and are here for you,” she said, adding that the child’s death only “further affirms our mission to erect a peace center at this site.” Activists are asking for a peace center to “create a space for healing” focused on “ending violence, ending police violence, job training, education and other services.”
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Write to Sanya Mansoor at email@example.com