‘An out-of-body nightmare’: Edgewood residents rocked by drive-by shooting

Credit: Contributed Photo

Credit: Contributed Photo

Bullet just missed toddler’s crib during barrage of gunfire

It sounded like firecrackers.

The rapid-fire “pop-pop-pop” interrupted an Edgewood family’s quiet weekend evening as a mother sat on her living room couch with their 3-year-old and her wife rocked their 1-year-old to sleep in another room.

There were about 15-20 pops within a matter of three or four seconds just outside the Wesley Street home two days after Thanksgiving, one of the women told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in an exclusive interview. They asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation.

“Then I heard something change in the house,” she said. “It’s like, it sounded like something dropped by the wall or something.”

That’s when she put the 3-year-old on the ground, got on top of him and waited to make sure the noise had stopped before investigating what had happened.

She got up, checked on her wife and went into the front room, where she saw a large bullet lodged in the wall about a foot above the crib where the toddler had been sleeping. His bed had recently been placed in his older sibling’s room.

“It just felt like an out-of-body nightmare situation, like the implication that a bullet just came through my kid’s room at chest height. If my wife had been standing there, she would have died,” the woman said. “It’s just — now we just don’t feel safe in our own house.”

Credit: Contributed Photo

Credit: Contributed Photo

The family has already started looking for new homes.

“It just doesn’t feel like we can stay there even though we love that house,” the woman said. They had just finished building a guest house in the large backyard, which was a huge selling point for them.

Police received numerous calls about the shooting that Nov. 26 evening. The neighborhood is just a stone’s throw from the Amani Place apartments, one of the city’s most dangerous low-income housing complexes, according to an AJC investigation. Lack of security and deferred maintenance, along with governmental inertia and weak tenant-protection laws, has left many complexes like Amani Place nearly uninhabitable.

At the scene, officers spoke to multiple people who had their property damaged. One man on Mayson Street said he was home when he, too, heard what he thought were fireworks until he noticed a hole in his living room wall. A bullet had flown through his patio, into his apartment and damaged the wall on the other side, according to an incident report. No one was hurt.

As officers spoke with that man, another call came in reporting property damage. It was the one from the Wesley Street home, and as officers took that report, another neighbor flagged them down to report that his parked car had been struck multiple times on Marona Avenue.

Selim Nemsi told the AJC he was home with his wife when they heard a string of gunfire. Hearing shots in the distance isn’t out of the ordinary for their neighborhood, he said. Sometimes it wakes them up around 1 a.m., but this time it was so loud they knew it was right in front of their home.

“As soon as we heard the shooting, immediately we hid on the ground because it was so loud and scary,” Nemsi said.

Their car was hit at least three times, according to an incident report, once near the front right tire and another in the back right door. The car’s glass also had been shattered. The vehicle is still driveable, but Nemsi said he will have to pay for the repairs out of pocket.

Credit: Contributed Photo

Credit: Contributed Photo

While no one was hurt and he has no plans to move, Nemsi said the fear has changed the way his family lives. The couple no longer work in their yard after dark, and when an unknown car goes by or lingers longer than usual, there’s an anxiety that sets in that wasn’t there before.

“It’s a lot of things that you never think about,” he said. “When (something like this) happens, it changes the way you see things or you think. I guess it will take time for us to get back to normal.”