City officials, community leaders promise safety changes in Buckhead after 7-year-old killed

ATLANTA — City officials and other community leaders are demanding for justice and a safer Buckhead days after a 7-year-old girl was killed by a stray bullet.

Hearts were broken across the city when Kennedy Maxie was shot while Christmas shopping with her family near Phipps Plaza. She had been in critical condition at a local hospital since the shooting on Dec. 21.

Tragically, the little girl died from her injuries over the weekend

Police believe Maxie and her family were not the intended targets. However, investigators are looking through surveillance video to figure out the shooter.

No arrests have been made yet.

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It has been a violent year in Atlanta with a total of 155 murders across the city, making 2020 the deadliest year since 1998.

“The level of gun violence we are seeing is really concerning to law enforcement as a whole,” Atlanta Interim Police Chief Rodney Bryant said. “I continue to have conversations with chiefs across the country on how we can combat this.”

Between the two shopping malls, Lenox Mall and Phipps Plaza, there have been more than a half dozen shootings this year.

In Buckhead specifically, the violence around Lenox Square, Phipps Plaza and other Buckhead areas have pushed leaders to come up with their own security patrol.

The plan came out earlier this month, but with this latest tragedy some Atlanta council members are donating over $120,000 to a new security program aimed at keeping citizens safe.

The plan includes a private police force under the direction of Atlanta police. It’ll be off-duty police officers and security guards strictly securing the Buckhead shopping district.

“You know we have to do something about this, we’re not going to sit around. People have to know we’re taking steps. There will be consequences if you come into Atlanta and commit crime,” said Atlanta City Council member JP Matzigkeit.