Atlanta interim police chief says this weekend was ‘the most violent (he can) recall’

ATLANTA — The City of Atlanta confirmed that 31 people were shot over the holiday weekend during 11 different incidents.

The shootings happened within a three-day stretch from Friday Monday, with 28 of the 31 shot during a 24-hour period.

“This is probably the most challenged, most violent weekend that I could recall,” interim Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant told Channel 2′s Mark Winne.

Five of those people died, including an 8-year-old girl.

“It tore at my inner core that this could happen,” Bryant said.

Secoriea Turner was shot while riding in a car with her mother and her mother’s friend. The shooting happened not far from the Wendy’s on University Avenue where Rayshard Brooks was shot and killed last month.

There was a second shooting near the same location just 24 hours after the little girl was killed. A total of three people were shot, and one of those people died.

Bryant told Winne that the 16 homicides in June ties the highest single month since 2003 and in the past 30 days, there have been 18 homicides and more than 100 shootings. But he said he’s dedicated to turning it around.

“By no means will we tolerate a level of lawlessness in these streets,” Bryant said.

Bryant will lead the police department’s response, but says his men and women need the support of the people they serve.

“Morale is very bad,” he said. “Most police officers get into this profession to serve others. When it feels as if the community has turned on them, it’s a gut punch.”

Bryant said the violent crime results from a perfect storm, including the frustrations of people pent up by COVID-19, police resources stretched thin by protests, a greater willingness to challenge the police and low morale.

“When you are pulling your resources and drawing them to handle other events our level of proactiveness is minimized. Just imagine if we were defunded and still had to manage that weekend. It would’ve been catastrophic,” he said. “We’re resilient. We’ve seen times like this before and we come out of it stronger and better because we work collaboratively with the community to do so.”

Gov. Kemp declares State of Emergency

In a tweet Sunday night, Governor Brian Kemp said, “This recent trend of lawlessness is outrageous & unacceptable ... While we stand ready to assist local leaders in restoring peace & maintaining order, we won’t hesitate to take action without them.”

On Monday, the governor declared a state of emergency and authorized up to 1,000 National Guard troops to protect “Georgians.”

“Peaceful protests were hijacked by criminals with a dangerous, destructive agenda. Now, innocent Georgians are being targeted, shot, and left for dead,” Kemp said. “This lawlessness must be stopped and order restored in our capital city.”

The governor’s tweet was retweeted and “liked” hundreds of times, although some criticized the governor about his focus on Atlanta violence.

Civil Rights attorney Lee Merritt, who represents the family of Ahmaud Arbery, responded to the governor in the tweet linking the term “lawlessness” to the initial controversial investigation into the killing of the 25-year-old in Brunswick, Georgia.

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