3 killed in shooting in SW Atlanta parking lot, police say

Three men were fatally shot in a southwest Atlanta parking lot early Sunday morning, just hours after Atlanta police opened their 100th homicide investigation this year.

Officers were sent to the area of Whitehall and McDaniel streets about 12:45 a.m., Atlanta police homicide commander Lt. Daniel Genson told reporters at the scene.

ExploreAtlanta hits 100 homicides for 2021, ahead of last year’s pace

When they arrived, they found three men between 35 and 45 years old who had injuries “consistent with gunfire,” Genson said. All three victims were pronounced dead at the scene.

“Currently, we are at the preliminary stages of the investigation to identify witnesses and what other evidence is available,” Genson said.

The relationship between the victims is not clear, police said. Anyone with information on the fatal incident is asked to contact Atlanta police.

The fatal shooting happened within nine hours of another shooting that left a man dead on Magnolia Way in northwest Atlanta.

The victim, identified by the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office as 28-year-old Johnathan Pennington, was found inside a car with a gunshot wound just before 4 p.m. He was rushed to a hospital in critical condition before dying from his injuries, marking the 100th investigation into a homicide that police have opened this year.

The grim milestone reflects the increase in violent crime that Atlanta police and city leaders have been combatting for more than a year.

In 2020, the Atlanta Police Department investigated 157 homicides, up from 99 in 2019 and the most in more than two decades. By June of this year, APD reported nearly a 60% increase in homicide cases. That pace has slowed, but the 2021 homicide count is ahead of last year when the 100th homicide was recorded on Oct. 1, 2020, crime data shows.

— Staff writers Shaddi Abusaid and Alexis Stevens contributed to this article.