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The Wendy's restaurant that was set on fire by demonstrators after Rayshard Brooks was killed is seen on June 17, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia.
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Atlanta police arrested a teenager Wednesday in relation to the recent fatal shooting of 8-year-old Secoriea Turner who was fatally shot while in a car with her mother and an adult male near the Wendy’s where Rayshard Brooks was killed by police last month.

Julian Conley, 19, was charged with aggravated assault and felony murder and transported to the Fulton County Jail after he turned himself in following a warrant being issued in his name, the Atlanta Police Department said in a statement emailed to TIME.

Jackie Patterson, Conley’s attorney, maintains his clients’ innocence. Patterson tells TIME that the teenager denies his involvement in the shooting but says he was armed with a gun that he did not fire when it occurred. “My client was out peacefully protesting the death of Rayshard Brooks,” Patterson says. “He witnessed the whole thing but did not fire on that vehicle.”

Patterson suggests that his client’s arrest was a form of retaliation from police because they named him as a person of interest but he and Conley refused to cooperate. “(Police wanted us to come down and talk and I said we had nothing to talk about,” Patterson says.) “As a result of that,” they issued a felony murder warrant, he adds.

Conley is expected to have his first court appearance Thursday morning and a bond hearing in two to four weeks, Patterson says.

It’s unclear what exactly happened in the chaotic moments leading up to Secoriea’s death.

The Atlanta Police Department said in a previous statement that the male driver of the car was trying to enter a parking lot “when he was confronted by a group of armed individuals who had blocked the entrance.”

“At some point, someone in that group opened fire on the vehicle, striking it multiple times and striking the child who was inside,” the statement said.

Patterson says that when the driver couldn’t get through he “continued to go through the barricade and struck a person who had a rifle in his hand,” after which “that person got up and opened fire on the car.”

“Once that person opened fire on the car, apparently people thought the gentleman in the car was shooting back and that’s when two to three other individuals started shooting at the car,” he adds.

Secoriea’s death, which occurred on a particularly violent July 4 weekend in Atlanta (police reported 31 shooting victims in 11 separate incidents), prompted Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms to call for peace and say “enough is enough.” She took a harsh stance against protesters continuing to show up outside the Wendy’s where Brooks was killed, saying “we’re not having any more discussions. It’s over.” The area was cleared shortly afterwards, leading protesters to argue they were being unfairly implicated in Secoriea’s death.

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Write to Sanya Mansoor at

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