Police closer to solving string of East Atlanta crimes

by: Richard Elliot Updated:


ATLANTA - Atlanta police may be one step closer to solving a series of crimes in the East Atlanta area, and it may be thanks to closer cooperation with DeKalb County police.

Atlanta Police Department's Zone 6 precinct area, which includes the neighborhoods of East Atlanta, Grant Park, Reynoldstown, Inman Park, Ormewood Park and others, has seen a number of violent crimes in recent weeks. Gunmen shot and killed 33-year-old Patrick Cotrona as he walked home from East Atlanta Village on Memorial Day. Sunday, three men robbed a DeKalb County man at gunpoint on Glenwood Avenue as he walked home from an East Atlanta bar. He told police one of the men had an AK-47 assault rifle.

Deputy Atlanta Police Chief Renee Propes, a former Zone 6 commander, said Monday that they have been working closely with DeKalb and Decatur police to solve these crimes. She said on July 4, DeKalb police arrested four men after officers found stolen guns, electronic equipment and checkbooks inside the men's apartment. Police also recovered two stolen cars. Propes thinks they could somehow be connected with crimes in and around East Atlanta.

"DeKalb made some significant arrests on the Fourth of July," said Propes. "We believe they may be related to some of the crimes here in Zone 6, because we know perpetrators don't know borders. They don't care. They go back and forth between zones, between jurisdictions."

Propes said solving these crimes is a top priority for APD and the city of Atlanta. She said there are extra police patrolling the area, and they have assigned other units from outside Zone 6 to aid in the search for the criminals, including the Tactical Traffic Unit, Community Oriented Policing Unit, Specials Ops and the Motor Squad.

"We don't leave Zone 6 out here to take care of the problem in Zone 6," said Propes. "We address it from a big-picture perspective."

Still, Patrick Cotrona's sister is disturbed that six weeks have gone by since his murder, and yet, the crime spree continues.

"It feels like in only six short weeks, we've already seen more and more robberies," said Kate Cotrona Krumm. "Not only did I not want Patrick's name to just kind of vanish, I wanted people to know who he was and the kind of person he was, but I also didn't want his death to be in vain. And when these crimes continue in such frequency, it makes me feel like it was in vain."

East Atlanta Community Association President Kevin Spigener said there will be an unprecedented meeting of eight in-town neighborhood associations to discuss the criminal activity. Atlanta and DeKalb police, along with city of Atlanta officials, will join them to talk about crime. The meeting is scheduled for 7:30 Wednesday night at Zoo Atlanta. Spigener said his neighbors are fed up with seeing these crimes.

"Appalling," said Spigener. "That's what the community woke up to Sunday morning. Shock and disbelief that these things continue to happen week after week."

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