Updated ‘shot spotter’ technology led police to deadly shooting overnight

ATLANTA — New technology led police to a deadly shooting in southwest Atlanta.

Channel 2′s Audrey Washington spoke with neighbors on Beckwith Street in southwest Atlanta.

Police said the detectors helped them get to the scene within minutes.

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Atlanta police are still searching for the shooter.

Police said they got the shot spotter alert and rushed over to Beckwith Street, where they found a man in his 20s shot dead in a dirt alley.

“Right now, we have some ballistic evidence that was recovered on scene,” said Ralph Woolfolk, homicide commander for the Atlanta Police Department.

Detectives said it was a shot spotter detector on top of a light pole that alerted officers of shots fired in the area.

Justin Whitt lives near the homicide scene.

“It could be essentially in helping fight and reduce some of the crime,” he said.

He said someone shot him in this same area back in September. The shooting left him paralyzed from the waist down, but he is now walking again.


Whitt said he’s in full favor of any technology that could help deter crime.

“There was a shooting in the area and you would know that it was a serious incident,” he said.

In 2018, Channel 2 first reported on the shot spotter program.

During the initial pilot phase, officials said the system experienced too many false positive calls, with the system sending officers to places where nothing happened.

In 2021, Atlanta police said new shot spotter testing would resume because the sensor technology was enhanced.

“It has been helpful in getting us on top of incident locations where shots were fired,” Woolfolk said.

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Friday, Atlanta police said in part: “… we are evaluating shot spotter to see if it can complement our crimefighting strategies.”

Police are also hoping some surveillance video in the area will help lead to the suspect in this case.