‘Don’t tell me she dead’: 911 calls reveal chaos after Atlanta park shooting

6-year-old girl remains in critical condition, mother says

Panic stricken, two callers dialed 911 moments after six people were shot at an Atlanta Park on Sunday, audio released Friday by police reveals.

“A child has been shot,” a frantic 911 caller yelled. “Don’t tell me she dead ... take her to the (expletive) hospital, (expletive) the ambulance ... the ambulance taking too long, put her in the car.”

Serenity Stephens, 6, was just one of the people shot at Rosa L. Burney Park after gunfire erupted about 7 p.m. during a community ballgame, according to Atlanta police. Rashad Rogers, 31, and April Sparks, 33, died at a hospital, authorities confirmed.

ExploreNeighbors rally for change after 2 killed, 4 injured in Atlanta park shooting

The child remains in critical condition, her mother wrote.

“Serenity .... was shot nine times in multiple places. My daughter is now in the hospital in critical condition,” Selena Goodwin wrote in a GoFundMe campaign that has raised more than $10,000 for medical expenses.

By the time officers arrived at the scene, all but one of the victims had been taken to the hospital, an incident reported obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reveals.

“We had a softball game going on up here, they just tried to shoot out. We got a lady lying on the ground up here in the park over here by the swimming pool. I don’t know if she’s dead or not,” another 911 caller said.

Credit: GoFundMe/Miguel Martinez

Credit: GoFundMe/Miguel Martinez

Terence Denson went to the park to enjoy Softball Sunday, a community event that had been going on for years in the Mechanicsville neighborhood. The gunfire startled him, but when he heard a mother calling out for help, his heart shattered.

“Everyone was chilling, then 30 minutes later — gunshots,” Denson said. “Then it stopped for a couple seconds and then I hear a lady yell, ‘My child!’”

After losing his 15-year-old son to gun violence just a few months ago, Denson said his instincts immediately kicked in to save Serenity. He picked her up, pressing her head against his shoulder, and got into the first car he saw and told the driver to go to the hospital.

“We just hopped into a random car because we just had to save the child,” Denson said.

Atlanta police Deputy Chief Charles Hampton Jr. said Sunday that any death is a tragedy, but it’s especially unfortunate when children are involved in shootings.

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

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Neighbors gathered Tuesday evening near the Windsor Street park to honor the victims and declare in solidarity that the violence has to stop.

“Tonight we are rallying for peace. There have been way too many lives lost in this community,” said Janikqua Cutno, an organizer with CHRIS 180, an Atlanta-based welfare organization that serves children and youth with behavioral and emotional challenges. “Today we have decided to step up. Today we have decided to take a stand. And we have decided to say we’re going to stop shooting and start living.”

No suspect has been publicly identified in the case, and no arrests have been made.

In response to the shooting, a “Taking Back Our Black Community” march is planned for 10 a.m. Saturday. Check-in starts at 9 a.m. at the Juvenile Court at 395 Pryor Street.

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.

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Credit: Miguel Martinez