ATLANTA — An 8-year-old girl was shot and killed Saturday night in Atlanta near the Wendy’s where Rayshard Brooks died last month.
Police identified the child Sunday as Secoriea Turner.
Officers said they responded to a 911 call near University Avenue and I-75/I-85 around 9:50 p.m. The location of the shooting was in a parking lot across the street from the now burned-out Wendy’s, which has been occupied by demonstrators since Brooks’ death at the hands of an Atlanta police officer.
Police said Turner was riding in a car with her mother and her mother’s friend when they exited the interstate at University Avenue. The driver tried to turn into the parking lot at 1238 Pryor Road when he was confronted by an “group of armed individuals” who had blocked the entrance.
“At some point, someone in that group opened fire on the vehicle, striking it multiple times and striking the child who was inside. The driver then drove to Atlanta Medical Center for help,” police said in a statement.
Police said the 911 caller told them they were heading to Atlanta Medical Center with the victim. The child died at the hospital.
On Sunday night, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms blasted protesters who had turned violent.
“You cant blame this on a police officer. You can’t say this about criminal justice reform,” Bottoms said. “This is about some people carrying some weapons who shot up a car with an 8-year-old baby in the car for what?!?
“Enough is enough,” Bottoms continued. “If you want people to take us seriously and you don’t want us to lose this movement, we can’t lose each other.”
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Bottoms said there were at least two shooters and begged anyone with information to come forward.
“I am just asking you to please honor this baby’s life,” Bottoms said. “If you know who did this, please turn them in. These people are a danger to all of us.”
Later, Turner’s mother, spoke a few words before bursting into tears and being carried out of the room by family members.
“She was only 8 years old,” Charmaine Turner said. “She would have been on Tik Tok dancing on her phone, just got done eating. We understand the frustration of Rayshard Brooks. We didn’t have anything to do with that. We’re innocent. My baby didn’t mean no harm.”
Turner said in the news conference that her daughter died in her arms.
Secoriya Williamson, Secoriea’s father, also spoke out.
“They say black lives matter,” Williamson said. “You killed your own this time. You killed a child. She didn’t do nothing to nobody.”
Bottoms said the crowd outside the Wendy’s had re-erected barriers that the city had already taken down. The family was trying to get around the barrier when the confrontation happened.
Bottoms announced that after weeks of trying to negotiate with protesters occupying the Wendy’s, the efforts are over and the area will be cleared.
“A the point that an 8-year-old baby is killed, the discussions have ended,” Bottoms said.
Interim Police Chief Rodney Bryant also spoke about a plan to make sure this doesn’t happen again.
“We cannot tolerate losing a child from the city of Atlanta,” Bryant said. “We have to do a better job as a community and as a police department and as the citizens that live in this city,”
Police are offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to Secoriea’s killers. Information can be submitted anonymously to the Crime Stoppers Atlanta tip line at 404-577-TIPS (8477) or online at www.StopCrimeATL.com.
Tipster do not have to give their name or any identifying information to be eligible for the reward of up to $10,000 for the arrest and indictment of the suspect.
Police are describing one of the shooters as a man wearing all black and dressed like a bounty hunter. The other shooter was a man wearing a white T-shirt.
Gov. Brian Kemp issued a statement on Twitter Sunday night saying that his family is praying for Secoriea’s family.
There have been 75 shooting in Atlanta this month alone.