2 boys killed, 1 injured in shooting at troubled SW Atlanta complex

One victim was about to celebrate his 13th birthday.
Atlanta police are investigating after three children were shot outside an apartment building in southwest Atlanta. Two of the kids, both 13, died.

Credit: John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com

Credit: John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com

Atlanta police are investigating after three children were shot outside an apartment building in southwest Atlanta. Two of the kids, both 13, died.

Lamon Freeman was a newly minted teenager when his life was cut short Tuesday morning, just 30 minutes into what would have been his 13th birthday.

Freeman and one of his best friends, Jakody Davis, also 13, were both shot to death around 12:30 a.m. while hanging out on the steps of a building at the West End Apartments near Dimmock and Peeples streets in the Oakland City neighborhood. A 12-year-old boy was also shot and had to be hospitalized, Atlanta police said.

“Literally, today’s his birthday, and it’s not good at all,” Freeman’s cousin, Tiwana McCoy, told reporters just feet from where police were conducting their homicide investigation. “He’s supposed to be here with us celebrating, doing what we do as a celebration for his birthday.”

Freeman died at the scene, while Davis and the youngest victim were rushed to a hospital. Davis died there.

“We’re extraordinarily concerned about this,” apartment property management spokesperson Jimmy Arnold told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He called the incident “horrific” and said they are cooperating with police.

According to McCoy, there was nothing out of the ordinary in the moments leading up to the shooting.

“Hanging out, that’s what they do every day,” she said.

Jakoby Davis (left) and Lamon Freeman were shot at the West End Apartments.

Credit: Atlanta Police Department

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Credit: Atlanta Police Department

Only this time, someone walked up and opened fire, she said. The first bullet struck Davis, who was sitting on the steps, and Freeman was hit as he walked out of the apartment, McCoy said.

Police declined to confirm whether the boys had been targeted or if investigators had identified any suspects. A $50,000 reward is being offered by Crime Stoppers Atlanta for information on the case.

Officials did not release any other details, including whether it was a gang-related incident.

Officers at the scene, however, asked news reporters to leave the area once there was no longer a police presence due to it being a “gang stronghold.”

But the people who live there couldn’t just walk away to escape the violence. This is their home. This is where their children play. And, sadly, they’ve not only had to learn to live with it, but be comfortable with it.

After the final police officers left Tuesday morning, several bystanders were seen still standing in the open parking lot as the sun began to rise, just feet from the crime scene.

City Council member Jason Dozier said in a statement late Tuesday that he was saddened to hear about the shooting. He confirmed he is working with police, city and community officials, and the school district’s social worker to support those impacted by the violence.

“The safety and well-being of our residents, especially our young people, are paramount, and this tragic incident underscores the urgent need to address the root causes of gun violence in our communities,” Dozier said.

Tiwana McCoy (center) said her cousin was shot and killed on his 13th birthday outside an apartment building in southwest Atlanta. Another 13-year-old was also killed, and a 12-year-old was hospitalized.

Credit: John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com

icon to expand image

Credit: John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com

The West End Apartments, in particular, have a bloody history.

“It’s not the first or the last time ... that these apartments have been shot up,” McCoy said.

At least six people, including two toddlers, have been killed there since 2017, according to crime data maintained by the AJC.

While not dilapidated, the ungated, decades-old complex is among 272 of the metro area’s persistently dangerous complexes, according to the AJC’s “Dangerous Dwellings” investigation that looked into serious crimes, lax maintenance and other hazards in Atlanta neighborhoods.

In addition to the lives lost, five other people, including a 15-year-old boy, have been wounded in shootings there. Sixty-nine crimes were reported at the complex between 2017 and July 2023, including 33 aggravated assaults, six robberies, an attempted rape and two child molestations.

On Tuesday, Arnold said the violence is “systemic” in that part of town rather than a result of problems with management. He said the complex has security measures in place, including numerous surveillance cameras, which he said he hopes captured images of the shooter.

“Let’s pray for the family and hope for justice,” he said.


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Dangerous Dwellings investigation exposed how out-of-town private equity firms and other investors profit from Georgia’s weak state tenant protections and gaps in local enforcement, while tens of thousands of metro Atlantans are left to live amid violence and substandard conditions. The series spurred changes to local ordinances in several metro Atlanta jurisdictions, led to a bipartisan proposal to boost statewide tenant protections and won several national journalism awards. Read the series at ajc.com/dwellings