3-year-old critical after targeted shooting in SW Atlanta, police say

Credit: WSBTV Videos

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2-year-old boy shot in targeted attack after leaving barber shop with father, police say

Credit: WSBTV Videos

Officers searching for blue Kia Optima connected to incident

A 3-year-old was critically injured after he was shot near downtown Atlanta on Wednesday afternoon in what police called a targeted incident.

The boy and his father had just left a barbershop on Peters Street in the Castleberry Hill neighborhood about 4 p.m. when the shooting took place, Atlanta police Deputy Chief Charles Hampton said during a news conference. The child’s father took him to a nearby fire station at the corner of Lee Street and Avon Avenue, where he was then rushed to a hospital, Hampton said.

The child was stable but remained in critical condition Thursday afternoon, he said. No updates on the child’s condition were provided Friday.

According to the initial investigation, police believe the boy and his father were followed by the suspect after leaving Off the Hook Barbershop. As they drove south on Peters Street, the father noticed a blue Kia Optima performing a U-turn on the street after passing them. The Kia pulled alongside their car on the passenger side and someone inside opened fire at an intersection, Hampton said.

“What I can say is that it appears to be a targeted incident — I’m not sure of if they know one another, but it appears that the shooters in fact wanted to shoot the occupants in that vehicle,” the deputy chief said.

The father estimated the suspect fired five shots before he pulled away and drove to the fire station, according to the incident report. Three 9mm shell casings were recovered at the scene.

Police spent much of Wednesday searching for the Kia and investigating at the barbershop, according to Hampton. The police activity shut down the road near Chapel Street and caused backups just north of I-20.

Police did not release any details about what they believe may have been the motive to target the vehicle.

Anyone who sees the blue Kia Optima or may have other information about this incident is asked to contact Crime Stoppers by calling 404-577-TIPS(8477) or visiting www.crimestoppersatlanta.org.

— Please return to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for updates.