APD: No suspect identified in park shooting that killed 2, injured child

Atlanta police said person previously labeled as suspect is wanted for questioning only

Atlanta police said Tuesday that a man shown in circulated images holding a gun is not a suspect in a weekend shooting at Rosa L. Burney Park that left two dead and four others injured, including a 6-year-old girl.

The department released two photos of the man late Monday night as a suspect in the shootings and asked for the public’s help to identify him. A police spokesman later clarified that homicide investigators consider the man to be a person of interest in the case and said he is wanted for questioning only.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has removed the photos from this article as the man is not suspected of a crime.

According to police, gunfire erupted around 7 p.m. Sunday at the Windsor Street park. Shots were exchanged after an argument apparently broke out during a baseball or softball game, Deputy Chief Charles Hampton Jr. told reporters from the crime scene.

Credit: Ben Hendren

Credit: Ben Hendren

The six shot were all taken to hospitals, where two victims, identified by the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office as 31-year-old Rashad Rogers and 33-year-old April Sparks, later died. The 6-year-old was taken to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston Hospital and was in critical condition, Hampton said Sunday evening.

Updates were not provided on the conditions of the other surviving victims, two adult women and a man, but an investigator with the medical examiner’s office told the AJC on Monday at least one was fighting for life in a hospital. It was not clear if any were related to each other.

Any death is a tragedy, Hampton said, but it’s especially unfortunate when children are involved. A city park is no place for gun violence, he said.

“We are just asking the citizens to just find a way to resolve conflict without weapons,” the deputy chief said. “We are just asking people to step away. We are asking people to let bygones be bygones.”

Deputy Chief Timothy Peek told the City Council’s public safety committee that the investigation was still active Monday afternoon and the homicide unit was “working those leads as fast as they can.” He said no arrests have been made and there were no cameras in the park, but investigators are looking at surrounding camera footage.

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The photos released Monday night appear to show a park bench. Police did not say where they were taken, or why they believe the man might have information related to the case.

“The homicide unit had listed this individual as a person of interest and not a suspect,” police spokesman Sgt. John Chafee said in a statement to media Tuesday. “Our release mistakenly labeled him as a suspect. He is a person of interest and homicide investigators and asking for assistance in identifying him to help further their investigation into this incident.”

Police are asking anyone who visited the park Sunday evening to come forward with information. Hampton said initial reports indicate there were large crowds attending the ballgame and there may be additional witnesses.

Tipsters can call the homicide unit at 404-546-4235 or remain anonymous, and be eligible for rewards of up to $2,000, by contacting Crime Stoppers Atlanta at 404-577-8477, texting information to 274637 or visiting the Crime Stoppers website.

— Staff writers Rosana Hughes and J.D. Capelouto contributed to this article.