Community reacts to violent weekend in Atlanta

A community activist said too many people are silent about our children and teenagers being killed by gun violence.

Georgetta Morton has started a movement to honor and remember the young people who are killed.

She was planning a rally Sunday for several of the 37 child victims who were killed on Atlanta streets in 2020 when she heard about Diamond Johnson. Atlanta police said the 15-year-old was shot and killed when two groups of people started arguing at Grant Park, then traveled over to the Waffle House on Glenwood Avenue Saturday Night.

"She was murdered. I was blown away. Here we are trying to talk about gun violence and I wake up to this news...another one," Ms. Morton decried.

The violent weekend continued with two shot late Sunday in northwest Atlanta.

Police said a man and woman, both in their late teens were hit after getting into an argument with people inside a black sedan.

"I hear it every week. People are outraged," said Governor Brian Kemp. 

Shootings are up 50 percent in the city of Atlanta, compared to this time last year and in 2019.

Meanwhile, the number of murders is up 60 percent compared to this time in 2020. 

Governor Kemp said the state is ready to help local agencies fight the trend.  

"It's really going to have to be local policing that is moving the needle on this one. We're glad to support but I think you can see that people are really fed up and want something done," he said. 

The Atlanta Police Department expressed their concerns in an email, saying their work can only go so far:

"What many do not consider is that when people decide to resort to gun violence to resolve personal issues, this is not just a policing issue. These incidents involve people making poor decisions when resolving conflict. Police respond after getting the call that someone has been shot. We pick up the pieces and the investigation after the fact. People make anger-induced decisions about conflict resolution options well before we arrive on the scene."

The email goes on to say,  "It is always a matter of choice. We encourage people to agree to disagree and to walk away from escalating arguments. No argument is worth destroying lives. We encourage people to think before they reach for a gun."

Back on the Glenwood Avenue scene, two other teens were also injured, one of them is Delisa Russell's son.

"My son was right there with Diamond, the one that got killed, and the other boy that got shot in the leg. He took off running, that’s when they started shooting, she dropped right in front of him, it was wild," Russell said.

Atlanta police also responded to a shooting on Ira Avenue in southwest Atlanta where an 11-year-old boy was grazed when bullets started flying Saturday afternoon. Police said it also started with an argument.

One victim was hit in the leg, a third showed up at the hospital shot in the stomach.

Even police have had enough.

"It's gut-wrenching. It's sad. I wish people could solve problems another way, other than guns," APD Major D'Andrea Price said with disgust.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Acting-Police Chief Rodney Bryant are holding a news conference Tuesday morning to talk about the violence.

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