• Family demands peace after soldier's shooting death

    By: Rachel Stockman


    ATLANTA, Ga. - Family members hope a local soldier's death sparks a movement to root out senseless crime in a northeast Atlanta neighborhood.

    "This could have been anyone's son. They took my son ," said Nichole Villafane, the mother of 21-year-old Xavier Arnold.

    Atlanta police said Arnold was killed during an attempted robbery on a bike path between Rogers and Warren streets in Kirkwood.

    "Our victims, their behavior had nothing to do with what happened to them," said Atlanta Police Capt. Paul Guerrucci. "It appears to be a senseless robbery."

    On Saturday police said a juvenile had been arrested in connection with the Thursday night shooting death of a local soldier.

    "A 14-year-old killed my son," said Villafane, "I am glad that someone that didn't have the scruples to think about life and consequences is off the street."

    Police have not released the name of the suspect, who has been charged with one count of murder and one count of armed robbery. Homicide detectives are still actively searching for any other suspects involved in the crime.

    "I got the phone call about 6 p.m. on the 26th," said James Arnold, the victim's father, "I need to get to Grady and I watched his last moments."

    On Saturday family members, friends and community members held a candlelight vigil near the spot where Arnold was gunned down. Many wore T-shirts with "X" to remember Xavier Arnold, who served with the National Guard, and was a student at the Savannah College of Art and Design.

    His mother said Xavier Arnold had dreams of designing comics. He was on the bike path with friends to take pictures of a graffiti artist he admired, according to Villafane.

    "There is no reason my son's life should have been taken, he wasn't doing anything wrong," said Villafane.

    "We have to put a stop to the senseless violence and these petty crimes," said James Arnold.

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