Atlanta marks 100 homicide cases for 2022, ahead of last year’s pace

Atlanta has reached the 100 mark for homicide cases investigated this year, a little more than a week ahead of last year’s pace.

The city reached the grim milestone Wednesday afternoon when a woman was found shot to death on McWilliams Road in southeast Atlanta, according to police.

In 2021, Atlanta hit the 100-mark on Aug. 21. Authorities investigated 160 homicides in 2021, up from 157 in 2020. The agency previously reported it worked 158 cases last year and updated the total after a review of department data. The 2019 total was 99 homicide cases.

ExplorePAST COVERAGE: Atlanta hits 100 homicide cases for 2021, ahead of 2020's pace

City and police leaders have made combatting violent crime a priority, often urging people to resolve conflicts without weapons.

On Monday, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens spoke for more than 40 minutes before the City Council’s public safety committee.

“There are too many illegal guns on our streets. ... If you’re a gang leader you will be caught and you will be held accountable. If you’re carrying an illegal firearm, you will face the consequences,” Dickens said, standing with police department officials including interim police Chief Darin Schierbaum.

ExploreAtlanta’s homicides up for 3rd straight year

On Sunday night, Atlanta police Deputy Chief Charles Hampton Jr. stood near the scene of a shooting that killed two people and injured four others, including a child, at Rosa L. Burney Park on Windsor Street.

“As we’ve said countless times, we are just asking the citizens to just find a way to resolve conflict without weapons,” Hampton said during a news briefing. “We are just asking people to step away. We are asking people to let bygones be bygones.”

Sunday’s shooting was the second deadly incident near the park this year. On Jan. 15, Kelvice Roberson Jr., was shot to death and a man injured in what investigators believe was the result of a gun transaction gone wrong. Kelvice, 15, was buried next to his brother, Markeith Oliver, who was shot to death in 2017 at age 18.

Atlanta is just one of many cities nationwide to seen an increase in violence since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Atlanta ranked No. 10 among large U.S. cities for the highest increase in the homicide rate during the pandemic, according to a July 27 study released this week by WalletHub.

The homicide pace for 2022 has slowed down, according to data from the Atlanta Police Department. At the end of April, the department was investigating 61 killings.

Credit: Family photo

Credit: Family photo

After investigating 19 homicides in March and 18 in April, the number dropped to five in May. There were 16 homicide cases in June and then eight in July. Eight homicides were under investigation during the first week of August.

Around 2 p.m. Wednesday, officers were called to a home on McWilliams Road. They arrived to find a woman who had been shot and died before help could arrive, according to police. The woman’s name was not immediately released. Investigators believe the shooting followed a domestic dispute.

It’s those types of personal conflicts that city leaders have repeatedly said can be solved without violence.

Timmie Thomas Jr., shot to death Jan. 3 at the Allen Hills Apartments on Middleton Road, was the first homicide case of 2022. He was 31, the father of six children and four stepchildren, and was pursuing a career in music. The up-and-coming rapper was planning to start performing publicly, his mother said.

“My son didn’t deserve that,” Tonia Conley, Thomas’s mother, recently told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “You don’t have any friends in this world. You have to trust in the Lord.”

Conley believes her son’s death was gang-related, though he wasn’t involved in one. Others watched and even used their cell phones to record her son’s death. Conley has a video, but can’t bring herself to watch it.

“I can’t believe what the world has come to,” she said. “People were laughing.”

A teenager has been charged with murder in Thomas’s death.


ATLANTA HOMICIDES

2022: 100 as of Aug. 11

2021: 160

2020: 157

2019: 99

2018: 88


MONTH-BY-MONTH HOMICIDES

January: 16

February: 9

March: 19

April: 18

May: 5

June: 16

July: 8

August: 8 (as of Thursday)