Hundreds attend rally, vigil after man fatally shot in East Atlanta Village

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ATLANTA —

Hundreds of people gathered for a vigil to remember the man shot and killed as he walked home from East Atlanta Village Saturday night.

A gunman fatally shot Patrick Cotrona, 33, Saturday and also shot one of his friends as they turned the corner from Flat Shoals Road onto May Avenue.

Organizers planned a vigil for Friday night, and through social media, contacted hundreds of people. Cotrona's family drove up from his hometown, Peachtree City, to attend.

"We are so incredibly honored that so many people are coming out tonight to pay their respects, and also to show that they're no longer going to sit around and let crime happen in their neighborhood," said Cotrona's sister, Kate Cotrona Krumm.

"It's heartbreaking. It's upsetting. The neighborhood is in distress," said Lauren Janis with the East Atlanta Business Association.

Janis, who lives and owns a business in East Atlanta Village, said it's sad it took a murder to get action.

"We've been asking for a very long time for changes to happen and unfortunately it hasn't, but I'm hoping there's a lot of good that comes from this."

Earlier in the day, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said solving this crime is one of his top priorities.

"I want everyone to know that we're going to track the people that did this, and we're going to bring them to justice," Reed said.

Reed pointed out that overall crime in the city is down, but realizes that statistic is meaningless when you become a victim or know someone who is.

"Crime overall is down, but anytime you have had someone murdered in such a lawless and reckless (way), it shocks the conscience," said Reed.

Reed said his officers are following "multiple leads," but couldn't say what those leads are.

Detectives said they're looking at similarities between the murder on May Avenue and two armed robberies of people walking about a mile away on Kirkwood Avenue just 20 minutes before.

Video shows a suspect running and jumping into a dark grey four-door Dodge.

"The similarities are in regards to the vehicle description and geographically. That's what's kinda tying this stuff together," said Sgt. Ricardo Vazquez with the Atlanta Police Department.

Detectives and uniformed officers attended the vigil too, passing out fliers hoping to get some information about the crime.

"Someone who knows someone who knows something," Vazquez said.

Police also increased patrols on the streets around East Atlanta Village and surrounding neighborhoods Friday night.

Neighbors told Channel 2's Steve Gehlbach that it was a first step in changing the community and solving this murder.

One change neighbors had been asking for is for more light.

The street light and others along May Avenue were not lit Saturday night when the shooting happened.

Georgia Power went out two days ago to get the lights back on.