”To take a poor, innocent child’s life like that, he certainly needs to be brought to justice and justice needs to be served,” Felicia Moore, Atlanta City Council president, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Wednesday.
Investigators said the shooting stemmed from a fight between Reed and other men in a mall parking lot. When the argument ended, Reed left the parking lot in a car, “and in a senseless act of rage, discharged a firearm out that window,” Atlanta homicide detective Lt. Pete Malecki previously said. At least three shots were fired, and one entered the car Kennedy was riding in, Malecki said.
Kennedy’s aunt told detectives she heard the gunfire while driving along Peachtree Road near Phipps. Moments later, she realized Kennedy had been struck and drove straight to the hospital, where the little girl was rushed into surgery.
As Kennedy lay in the hospital, family friends created a GoFundMe page to help with expenses. Donations continued to pour in as news of the girl’s death spread. As of Wednesday evening, the GoFundMe had raised more than $68,000. The family held a private funeral for Kennedy on Saturday.
Investigators do not believe the family’s Lexus was the intended target of the shooting. Police obtained warrants for Reed’s arrest Dec. 29.
“What we believe right now is we have the sole shooter who killed Kennedy,” Malecki said at the time.
The fatal incident is the second mall shooting Reed has been accused in, according to reports.
“We have some information that this is not the first time this young man has been detained in our area,” Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said.
In October 2019, Reed and another man were arrested by U.S. marshals in Atlanta in connection with a shooting at MacArthur Center Mall in Norfolk, Virginia. That shooting stemmed from a confrontation involving a third man and left that man and a 56-year-old bystander injured.
Reed pleaded guilty to a count of accessory after the fact. According to Norfolk General District Court records, he was sentenced to a year in prison with nine months suspended, meaning he spent three months behind bars from the day after his sentence was announced. Prior to the shootings, Reed had “several cycles” in the criminal justice system, including a 2018 conviction for forgery, according to Malecki.
In addition to felony murder, Reed is charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and reckless conduct in connection with Kennedy’s death.
Reed will be extradited to Atlanta to face the charges against him, APD said in a statement.
Kennedy’s death came during a historically deadly year in Atlanta. In 2020, the police department investigated 157 homicides, the most in more than two decades, records show. More than 20 children and teenagers were shot in metro Atlanta last year, including 8-year-old Secoriea Turner, who was killed July 4 while riding in a car with her mother.
In the wake of Kennedy’s death, Atlanta City Councilman Howard Shook directly criticized Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms for the rise in homicides. Shook is in his fifth term representing a large portion of Buckhead.
“It will take a lot to turn this around,” he said at the time. “But here, in descending order, are the three things we need to begin: 1). Leadership; 2). Some leadership; 3). Any leadership.”
The AJC reached out to Shook on Wednesday for his reaction to the arrest but did not hear back.