Following the deadly shooting of an 8-year-old woman over the holiday weekend near Rayshard Brooks was killed last month at Atlanta, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) required an end to the violence that has beset town prior to protests over racism and police brutality.
“You shot and killed a baby,” Bottoms said Sunday evening at a news conference, speaking to the young woman’s killers, who have been identified or arrested. “If you like people to take us seriously, and you also don’t want us to eliminate this motion, then we can not lose each other in this.
“You will find peaceful demonstrators across this city and throughout this nation, and I applaud them and I thank them for being calm and for honoring the lives of so many people who’ve been killed in America because of injustice,” she continued. “But this random wild, wild West, shoot’em up because you can, it has got to stop. It must stop.”
Bottoms’s emotional plea came one day after Secoriea Turner, 8, was fatally injured Saturday night not far from a Wendy’s restaurant which has been the site of protests after an Atlanta police officer shot and killed Brooks, a black guy, there on June 12. Garrett Rolfe, the officer who fired the shots, was dismissed from the division and has since been charged with felony murder along with other crimes. Devin Brosnan, the next officer involved with the episode, is also facing charges.
But Bottoms stressed Sunday that police officers weren’t at fault for the current spate of shootings that have left more than 20 individuals injured and several dead, including Secoriea. Rather, Bottoms denounced armed community members for taking advantage of Georgia’s open-carry law and”wreaking havoc” on town.
“Enough is enough,” Bottoms said. “You can not blame this on a police officer. You can not say that this is about justice reform. This is about some people carrying some weapons who shot up a car in the car with an 8-year-old baby. For what?”
Bottoms ordered people, namely those walking around with firearms that were spotted in the vicinity of this Wendy’s, to leave immediately. Shortly after Sunday’s news conference, one person was killed and two others were hurt in a different shooting near the restaurant, WXIA reported.
“We are not having any further discussions. It’s over,” she explained. “If you are seeking to be a part of a solution rather than a issue, then you are going to need to clear out of that area.”
The Wendy’s where Brooks has been murdered is now a popular spot for protests, with some demonstrators showing to the website with long guns and putting up barricades in the street, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Police allegedly cleared the region a month, one day later Brooks’s June 23 funeral, but Bottoms said Sunday that she received saying the barriers were back up roughly an hour before she was advised of Secoriea’s departure.
Police say Secoriea was riding in a vehicle with her mother and a second adult on Saturday night when they attempted to turn into a parking lot of a business throughout the street from the Wendy’s. The car was then”confronted by a group of armed individuals who had blocked the entry,” interim police chief Rodney Bryant said during Sunday’s news conference.
“At some point someone in the team opened fire on the vehicle, striking it multiple times, striking the kid who was indoors,” said Bryant, who condemned the shooting as a”senseless act of violence”
Secoriea was hurried to a nearby hospital where she expired, he said.
“She died in my arms,” Secoriea’s mother, Charmaine Turner, tearfully told reporters Sunday before she broke down crying and was led out of the news conference by family members.
Officials and Secoriea’s relatives have implored the people to help identify the people involved, who’ve only been clarified by authorities as”a group of black men.” One of the shooters was considered to have been wearing”all black, dressed like a bounty hunter,” while the second has been seen in a snowy T-shirt. A reward for information is currently up to $10,000, WAGA reported.
Bottoms known as the suspected shooters”cowards,” and encouraged people to steer clear of non-peaceful demonstrations.
“There are hundreds and hundreds of people who are amassing peacefully to try and effectuate change within this nation, and then are those that are wreaking havoc, and they are doing this to the detriment of us all. In this case, it is to the detriment of their lifetime of an 8-year-old child,” she said. “If you are a part of those gatherings which are becoming tumultuous and becoming deadly, then on your hands also is that the blood of Secoriea Turner.”
“This recent fad of lawlessness is outrageous & Poor,” Kemp tweeted. “Georgians, including people in uniform, have to be protected from violence & crime .”
This current fad of lawlessness is outrageous & Poor. Georgians, including people in uniform, have to be protected from violence & crime. We won’t hesitate to take action, while we stand ready to help leaders in restoring peace & maintaining order. https://t.co/NTacEm4v7o
— Governor Brian P. Kemp (@GovKemp) July 6, 2020
On Sunday, Secoriea’s father, Secoriya Williamson, joined officials at rebuking those who have turned to violence during the protests.
“They say black lives matter,” Williamson said. “You killed your own. You killed your own this time.”