‘No reason’: Friends devastated by shooting death of 15-year-old girl during weekend violence

ATLANTA — Police are still searching for the person who shot and killed a 15-year-old at a busy shopping center Saturday night.

Investigators say a fight at the shopping center near Grant Park led to a shooting that claimed the life of high school freshman Diamond Johnson.

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Friends told Channel 2′s Steve Gehlbach that Johnson was outside the Waffle House at the Glenwood Park Shopping Plaza with a group of friends when bullets started flying.

“You would always see her smiling, had dimples…she always smile and she was like a good friend. Used to help her out, used to help me out…take care of each other and she was a good person, so there was no reason for her to get shot,” said Makayla Terry, one of Johnson’s close friends.

“It’s just so sad because it don’t feel real,” said another of her friends, Serenity Ross.

Police say off-duty officers had broken up fights earlier in the evening, but they escalated just before 10 p.m. when Johnson and two others were shot. Both of the other victims survived their injuries.

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“She was sweet, like I can imagine her smiling right now, just laughing,” said Ross. “I never thought I’d lose someone I was this close to.”

Atlanta police say this shooting is one of half a dozen shootings they are investigating over the weekend.

APD said in statement Monday that they urge everyone to think before reaching for a gun and they “continue to be shocked at the number of people who are willing to take a life, abandon their family, risk going to prison and put people in harm’s way by using guns to solve disagreements.”

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Clayton County Schools said in a statement that they were deeply saddened to learn of the death of one of their students, and had their crisis teams available Monday to help students deal with the loss.

A memorial has started on Glenwood Avenue where the shooting took place for people to honor the young victim.