‘We are better than this’: GA officials address weekend of violence, vandalism in Atlanta

Georgia News

Video: WSB-TV via The Associated Press

ATLANTA, Ga. (WSAV) – Local and state officials are addressing a weekend of violence and vandalism in Atlanta.

Over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, the Georgia Department of Public Safety was vandalized and 8-year-old Secoriea Turner was shot and killed when at least two people opened fire on the vehicle she was riding in. There is now a $10,000 reward for information being offered.

Police are also investigating another shooting that left one person dead and two injured on Sunday, just steps away from where Secoriea was shot. There are reports of multiple other injuries as a result of violence this weekend.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms called for justice in a press conference, saying “enough is enough.”

“You shot and killed a baby,” Lance Bottoms said. “And there wasn’t just one shooter, there were at least two shooters.”

“You can’t blame this on a police officer,” she added. “You can’t say this about criminal justice reform. This is about some people carrying some weapons who shot up a car with an 8-year-old baby in the car for what?”

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp took to Twitter to condemn the weekend’s violent actions.

“This recent trend of lawlessness is outrageous & unacceptable,” Kemp said. “Georgians, including those in uniform, need to be protected from crime & violence. While we stand ready to assist local leaders in restoring peace & maintaining order, we won’t hesitate to take action without them.”

Kemp expressed his condolences to Secoriea’s family, saying “our hearts absolutely break for this precious life senselessly taken.”

State Representative Vernon Jones held a press conference Monday morning at the Georgia Department of Public Safety (DPS) headquarters. He was joined by Colonel Gary Vowell, commissioner of DPS.

Jones issued the following statement on the weekend:

“Atlanta is not Minneapolis, Seattle or St. Louis. Atlanta and Georgia, we are better than this. We will not tolerate killing innocent children, vandalizing the Georgia Department of Public Safety facilities, mob behavior in neighborhoods or endangering any life, whether Black, white or police officers. I stand with Colonel Vowell, DPS employees and the family of Secoriea Turner in demanding these types of criminal acts stop and stop now. My prayers go out to the Turner family. I respect people’s constitutional rights of freedom of speech and to assemble peacefully. However, the constitution does not give the right to kill innocent children, vandalize public safety facilities or deny other citizens their constitutional rights. I am calling on all responsible Atlantans, Georgians and organizations to join me in condemning these kinds of criminal activities. This cannot, will not and should not be allowed to continue.”

State Representative Vernon Jones

Watch the full press conference, below.

Senator Kelly Loeffler also issued a statement, sharing her condolences with Sacariea’s family and saying she was “heartbroken” and “furious” after the violent acts this weekend.

“I’m furious that elected officials with a radical agenda have decided to appease violent actors instead of protecting the public,” Loeffler said. “And I’m furious that these ‘leaders’ refuse to support law enforcement at a time when they need it most.”

She went on to add, “the defund police movement, and those who support and appease it, deserve blame.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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