Atlanta councilmember seeks youth curfew after 12-year-old boy’s fatal shooting



Atlanta City Councilwoman Keisha Sean Waites wants to enact a citywide curfew after the fatal shooting of a 12-year-old boy Saturday night.

Waites plans to introduce legislation calling for a 7 p.m. mandatory curfew for children ages 17 and under, the city announced Monday.

The legislation will require any location that has patterns of violence to integrate commercial grade cameras into the Atlanta Police Department’s Video Integration Center to give 911 operators access to those cameras.

Zyion Charles became the fifth youngest homicide victim this year in metro Atlanta when he was fatally shot near Atlantic Station the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Five others were wounded in the incident.

“As a stopgap measure to save the lives of family members and our neighbors until we develop a solution, we must move quickly to protect the lives of our most vulnerable populations,” Waites said.

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

Officials investigated 160 homicides in Atlanta 2021. We are currently at 151 for 2022. At least 60 children and teenagers have become gun violence victims this year, and half of the incidents were fatal.

Among Atlanta’s youngest victims was a 6-month-old caught in crossfire outside a store on Anderson Avenue in Atlanta in January. Two suspects, one accused of firing and the other accused of driving the SUV carrying the shooter, were arrested within days of the infant’s shooting death.

On Nov. 28, 2020, the Saturday after Thanksgiving that year, a massive brawl involving scores of teenagers at Atlantic Station ended with one beaten and punched until he lost consciousness, police said at the time. When he fell to the ground, another teen repeatedly stomped on his head, police said.

A 15-year-old who police identified as the primary aggressor was detained and charged with aggravated assault. He was not named due to his age, the AJC previously reported.

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On Monday, Zyion’s mother and grandmother spoke to the council during an afternoon council committee meeting. His relatives tearfully begged the city for help as his mother, Deerica Charles, described how she repeatedly asked the juvenile justice system to help her correct the car break-ins her mentally-ill son committed.

“Help these young boys because I don’t have a chance anymore,” Deerica Charles said.