2 months later, police still searching for who killed 8-year-old Secoriea Turner

Secoriea Turner

It has been two months since 8-year-old Secoriea Turner was shot and killed while riding in the backseat of an SUV, but investigators — and the little girl’s family — are still searching for answers.

The rising third grader died July 4 after police said up to four people opened fire while manning a “makeshift roadblock” on University Avenue in south Atlanta. The barricade was set up across the street from the now-demolished Wendy’s where Rayshard Brooks was fatally shot by an Atlanta police officer less than a month earlier.

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Though investigators said multiple suspects were involved, only one person — 19-year-old Julian Conley — has been arrested.

Conley, who remains behind bars on a murder charge and two counts of aggravated assault, said he witnessed the shooting but denies firing into the Jeep Cherokee where Secoriea was sitting.

His attorney, Jackie Patterson, said Conley told him a man driving the SUV went through the barricade and struck a man who was armed with a rifle.

“And when that person fell to the ground, the person got up and started firing at that vehicle,” Patterson said.

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Police, however, said the SUV was shot at least eight times while attempting to get around the makeshift barricade.

“The driver of the (Cherokee) attempted to go around the roadblock, at which point that vehicle was immediately met by gunfire,” Atlanta police Lt. Pete Malecki said during a July news conference.

Secoriea’s mother, Charmaine Turner, told the AJC she heard her daughter scream and call out for her.

“I just felt her trying to hold on, but she couldn’t,” she said previously. “Nobody helped me. I prayed to God and He didn’t help me. My baby died in my arms.”

Charmaine Turner, mother of Secoriea Turner, is surrounded by her sons and Secoriea's father, Secoriey Williamson.

Credit: ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM

Credit: ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM

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Atlanta police have remained relatively tight-lipped about their investigation, which is one of 96 murder cases the department has opened since the beginning of 2020, according to crime data released Thursday.

“While we understand the interest, we must be careful of the information released while this investigation remains open and very active,” the department said in an emailed statement. “Right now, everyone wants to know what exactly happened and why, but we need to focus on ensuring there is justice in this case and cannot jeopardize that by providing details to the public in advance of the court proceedings. At this time, we have no plans to provide updated information on this case.”

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Last month, Secoriea’s family put up two billboards near the site of the shooting asking anyone with information on the case to come forward. The signs include a photo of the 8-year-old and read, “My name is Secoriea Turner. I was 8 years old when I was murdered. Protecting children is not snitching. Help my family identify who killed me.”

The family of Secoriea Turner put up two billboards along University Avenue where she was killed on July 4. They're asking anyone with information on her death to come forward.

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

In addition, Secoriea’s family is offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.

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“If you know something, say something,” her father, Secoriey Williamson, said previously. “Do what’s right. You will not be labeled as a snitch. You’ll be labeled as a hero.”

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