Atlanta leader says city is in ’crisis mode’ after shooting of 13-year-old boy

Atlanta City Council’s Public Safety Committee delayed the vote on a plan to move up the curfew for kids from 11 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday, following the shooting of 13-year-old Deshon Debose over the weekend.

Debose’s death has renewed anger over gun violence killing kids throughout the city, including from council member Keisha Waites, who objected to the vote’s delay.

"When is enough, enough? How many more children do we need to continue to lose before we take action?" Waites said. "We are in crisis mode. The house is on fire."

The curfew would apply to kids 16 and younger who are not accompanied by a parent. Children going to work, school, sports, or social and religious functions would be exempt.

Those in favor of pushing the curfew up say time is of the essence. Waites said the committee, which see sits on, delayed the vote for legal guidance on its constitutionality.

Deerica Charles, mother of 12-year-old Zyion Charles, who was shot killed near Atlantic Station after dark in late November, said little has changed since his death.

"All these kids keep getting killed after eight, nine o’clock, ten o’clock. Is this our new normal?" Charles said.

She said hearing the news of Debose’s death felt like deju vu.

"I thought he was Zyion again," she said. "I heard it the same way that I heard it when I lost him. Because no mother wants to endure this pain"

Council member Waites says she objected to the vote’s delay, adding that the committee has requested crime data from Atlanta Police to substantiate the new curfew.

An aide for Waites said the move wouldn’t be reconsidered until roughly mid-February.

"Zyion is counting on us. Deshon is counting on us," Waites said. "These are sons of Atlanta. We have an obligation to keep the public safe."