Buckhead stores, restaurants clean up after a night of riots and looting

Friday’s march in downtown Atlanta gave way to vandalism elsewhere

Friday’s march in downtown Atlanta gave way to vandalism elsewhere

Hours after a peaceful gathering in downtown Atlanta morphed into vandalism and arson Friday night, retail spots in Buckhead were set upon by people who smashed windows, set fires and helped themselves to inventory.

Saturday was a day of cleanup.

Claire Maki and Joe Goodwin joined the effort at a shopping center near Lenox Square, and were picking up debris left behind.

“It’s just sad. I was born and raised here,” said Maki, of Buford. “These (businesses) are peoples’ livelihoods, these are how people support their families.”

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Goodwin, of Decatur, said he got a call from Maki this morning about helping.

“Seeing the mayor and TI and Killer Mike, it felt important, politics aside, to shut up and get to work, he said. “This is a mess.”

The hip-hop stars joined Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields at a Friday night news conference.

The shopping center holds an eyeglass shop, a dentist, a Sleep Number bed store and the AT&T store, filmed several times Late Friday and early Saturday morning as people broke into the store taking various items.

“Everything’s gone,” an employee from Sleep Number said. “They cleared us out.”

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The floor to ceiling windows at St. Cecilia restaurant that faces Peachtree Road across the street from Phipps Plaza only suffered minor damage.

Mac Angula, VP of revenue for Rocket Farms Restaurant group, arrived earlier than normal at the restaurant to check on things.

“Just one table and one window” were damaged, he said.

Vandals smashed the glass doors at Icebox, a high-end jewelry boutique in Buckhead, but left empty handed.

“They tried to loot, entered the store but couldn’t crack open our safes,” the shop’s Zahir Jooma said in an Instagram story post. “Nothing stolen from Icebox.”

Rioters left a greater impact elsewhere. Signature Day Spa suffered significant water damage when protestors broke through the front doors and damaged the pipes to the sprinkler system Friday night. On Saturday morning, water continued to pour through the pipes into the parking lot below.

The spa’s owners said their was hit twice by protestors. A massage room was set fire and the sprinkler was pounded causing water to pour out continuously until firefighters turned it off Saturday morning. Mother and daughter, Trang and Julia Nguyen saw damage from spa’s security camera

while at home. They came to start cleaning up at 2 a.m. Saturday but left after seeing activity in the parking lot, Julia Nguyen said.

“We saw people in a car and there was some activity in the backseat,” Nguyen said. “We were scared to leave for a while. We left and came back this morning and saw they made many attempts to burn down our spa.”

AJC photo: Ligaya Figueras
AJC photo: Ligaya Figueras

Elsewhere Saturday, clean-up efforts were in full swing at establishments including Relax the Back, below:

Stephen Davis cleans up at Relax the Back in Buckhead. AJC photo: Hyosub Shin
Stephen Davis cleans up at Relax the Back in Buckhead. AJC photo: Hyosub Shin

Employees at the Buckhead Target had a mess to clean up:

AJC photo: Leon Stafford
AJC photo: Leon Stafford

As did employees at Antwerp Diamonds:

AJC photo: Adrianne Murchison
AJC photo: Adrianne Murchison

And the crew at this hardware store in Peachtree Battle:

Popular Buckhead restaurant Bistro Niko did as well:

Photo: Lynn-Anne Huck
Photo: Lynn-Anne Huck

The scenes of Saturday cleanup followed sporadic bouts of lawlessness on Friday.

Someone knocked over this security camera:

AJC reporter Raisa Habersham filmed this clip outside the Buckhead Target:

This clip shows the Kroger at Piedmont Road near Peachtree Road:

These restaurants on Peachtree sustained damage:

Someone lit a fire in Del Frisco’s Grille after smashing its windows:

This clip shows people approaching shops in the Buckhead Loop area:

The Dior boutique was emptied:

People made their way into Phipps Plaza: