‘Not the norm’: Fatal triple shooting rocks West End neighborhood

Gunfire erupted outside local cafe where anti-violence group meets regularly
Three people were killed in a shooting Saturday in the 600 block of Evans Street in southwest Atlanta, police said.

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

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Three people were killed in a shooting Saturday in the 600 block of Evans Street in southwest Atlanta, police said.

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

Bullet casings and dried blood were still visible outside the headquarters of an anti-violence organization that has been mentoring Atlanta youth for the past decade.

Just days earlier, the violence they work tirelessly to prevent arrived at their doorstep without warning, shocking both staff and customers at YG Urban Cafe, home of the Young Generation Movement in southwest Atlanta’s West End neighborhood. The brazen shooting, which left three people dead, including a teenager, happened within feet of the establishment near the Mall West End.

“How do (they) get shot right in front of a building that is a safe place?” Julious Khalid, the group’s founder, said this week. “Just last Sunday we did a ‘Stop the gun violence’ rally.”

Khalid was helping a patron inside his cafe on Evans Street at around 1:25 p.m. Saturday when the first shots rang out, causing everyone to drop to the ground in panic, he said. The 35-year-old eventually ran to the door as his family stayed hidden nearby. He caught only the end of the chaos: a man firing two final shots.

“When I came out, I saw a young brother taking his last breath,” he told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Credit: Julious Khalid

Credit: Julious Khalid

Khalid said he then saw another man run and collapse a short distance away, while a third lay on the ground on the side of the cafe.

The chain of events started when 38-year-old Jarvis Scott approached 17-year-old Derrion Johnson and 20-year-old Jakobi Maddox and started shooting, leading Johnson to return fire, according to an Atlanta police incident report. All three were struck in the torso and died from their injuries.

Scott was the “primary aggressor,” the report stated, and his death will be classified as a “felon killed by private citizen.”

The gunfire erupted in a commercial area of the tight-knit neighborhood, where shootings of that scale don’t often happen and people are usually seen walking around, according to West End Neighborhood Development President Marquise “Tony” McNeal. While there have been a few violent incidents and a police presence typically in the area, McNeal said he wouldn’t be “afraid to walk up the street.”

“That unfortunate situation that happened a few days ago is not the norm for our neighborhood,” he told the AJC. “That is a special case kind of situation.”

Maddox’s name is now spray-painted on the side of the YG Urban Cafe, along with his nickname “Slim” due to his build and towering 6-foot-4 frame.

He was like a son to Kiwii Ashmeade, his aunt who raised him, along with her parents, since he was 5 years old. On Saturday afternoon, she was sitting on her couch in the Pittsburgh neighborhood when her mother called to say he had been shot. The ensuing drive to the West End was only six minutes, but it felt longer.

Ashmeade arrived at the crime scene still feeling in her heart that everything would be fine — until a detective who knew her family motioned for her.

Credit: Kiwii Ashmeade

Credit: Kiwii Ashmeade

“I just broke down and cried because it’s like, this is not, this is not real,” she said of her nephew, who leaves behind a 1-year-old son. “He had just left the house at 12:59 p.m., and 20 minutes later he was dead.”

A motive for the shooting is still unclear. Johnson and Maddox were acquaintances, while their relationship to Scott was listed as “unknown” in the police report.

“The 17-year-old, he didn’t get to live his life. Jakobi was just starting out with his life and Jarvis had already lived his life,” Ashmeade said. “It’s just tragic.”

Including Saturday’s deadly shooting, three homicides and 35 aggravated assaults have been reported in the West End this year, police data shows. Those numbers were nearly identical in 2022.

In February, an argument across the street from the YG Urban Cafe led to a double shooting outside a Krispy Kreme. Just two months later, 62-year-old Ossie Turner was fatally shot during a robbery on nearby Oak Street.

About six hours after Saturday’s shooting, hundreds of people gathered for the Candlelight Concert at the Wren’s Nest. WEND hosted the 14th annual event on Ralph David Abernathy Boulevard, just a half-mile from where the gunfire erupted hours earlier.

McNeal said the concert “went on without a hitch, even though that unfortunate situation took place” and that he didn’t hear news about the shooting in his neighborhood until the next morning.

“I wish there was (no shootings) at all,” McNeal admitted. “But the reality of living in a city, crime is going to be there.”

Placing the Young Generation Movement headquarters in the West End was important and strategic for Khalid. He wanted to provide young people a safe place where they can learn and be mentored. More than 1,500 kids have been part of his organization since its founding in 2012.

Two years ago, the group started a campaign against gun violence. On Sunday, within feet of the bloodshed, a still shell-shocked Khalid decided to host a vigil centered around moving forward through joined prayer.

He said gatherings will now be held there every Friday afternoon to discuss strategies and solutions with community and city leaders, as well as Atlanta police. Among his goals are additional resources and funding for a new community center and increased security.

After last weekend, he said the time for action is now.

“I got blood right now still on my sidewalk. I got bullets still right here in front of my door. So we had to cleanse the energy,” he said. “My goal is to take a holistic approach and to heal in our community.”

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