Three bystanders were injured when gunfire erupted after a pool party in Buckhead. Four people were hurt when shots rang out outside a late-night, music-themed venue near Georgia Tech. And two died and several others were wounded during a 10-hour spate of shootings across the city of Atlanta.
The weekend violence comes less than two weeks after Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced the creation of a new working group to provide recommendations for reducing crime amid a spike in homicides and gun violence in the city.
“It’s not just one section of Atlanta anymore. It’s throughout Atlanta,” said Nicholas Stewart, president of the English Avenue Neighborhood Association.
On Saturday evening at a crowded pool party at The Peninsula at Buckhead’s rooftop lounge, a dispute broke out. According to police, the argument continued through the apartment complex’s lobby and spilled out into the parking lot of the adjacent Home Depot, where gunfire injured three men.
Police say the men — ages 71, 55 and 22 — were bystanders who just happened to be at the home improvement superstore when the shooting started. Officers found the three victims in the parking lot of the Home Depot in the 2500 block of Piedmont Road shortly before 8 p.m., police said in a statement. All three were listed in stable condition.
In a statement, The Peninsula said the rooftop pool party was “not organized or sanctioned by our property management team.”
“The safety and wellbeing of our residents is and always will be our No. 1 priority,” the apartment community said. “We take very seriously the incident that occurred this past weekend and we are actively working with authorities in the open investigation.”
Authorities are still working to locate the gunman, who was driving a dark-colored vehicle.
A call to the apartment complex administration for comment on the incident was not returned Sunday.
In Buckhead in recent months, some residents and officials say they are on edge over a rise in crime and a lack of security. The area’s commercial corridors have been the scene of several shootings and an increase in nighttime street racing.
Credit: Channel 2 Action News
Credit: Channel 2 Action News
Last fall, long-serving Atlanta City Council member Howard Shook told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that in past years he would normally get one or two calls a year from his Buckhead neighbors who were concerned about nearby gunfire.
“Now, it’s weekly,” Shook said. “Among many spikes and concerns about crime, this one’s the loudest on the decibel meter.”
As police were responding to that shooting, another was taking place in south Atlanta, where a man was shot multiple times during an attempted carjacking on River Ridge Drive, police said.
Investigators said the victim, who was taken to a hospital in serious condition, appears to have been familiar with the suspect.
That shooting took place about a mile from another on Lang Street on Friday evening that took a man’s life. That incident was the city’s 48th homicide, an increase of at least 52% from the same time last year.
Early Sunday morning, police responded to yet another shooting with multiple victims at the Trap Music Museum, a music venue on Travis Street near the Georgia Tech campus. Three men and a woman were injured.
Investigators told Channel 2 Action News the victims were leaving the Trap Museum and going back to their cars around 3:40 a.m. when someone in a black Dodge Charger began shooting. The investigation is ongoing.
Stewart, of the English Avenue Neighborhood Association, lives just a few blocks from the venue and said it draws big crowds and that cars choke the narrow street until well into the early morning hours. He said the neighborhood association has spoken with Atlanta Police about the venue.
“It’s too many people and not enough police,” he said. “There is usually one officer there, but it’s packed on the weekend.”
The Trap Music Museum, which did not respond to an emailed request for comment, is a music-themed exhibit space with an adjoining “escape room.” But Stewart said it functions like a nightclub with late-night hours.
This weekend marked the first since the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that fully inoculated people no longer need to wear masks or socially distance in most indoor and outdoor locations unless it’s required by law or local businesses.
The shootings also come as police and city leaders continue to strive to find solutions after last year’s dramatic rise in deadly crime.
At her May 4 press conference about the working group that will form recommendations to fight crime, the mayor touted several of the city’s recent public safety initiatives, including new license plate-reading cameras, enhanced police recruitment and a summer program that aims to give jobs to 1,000 young people.
Bottoms also announced at the press conference that she was naming interim police chief Rodney Bryant as permanent chief.
WHY IT MATTERS
A surge in violent crime in Atlanta has led to an outcry from rattled residents and business owners, and pressure is building on public officials to put the epidemic of violence at the forefront of their efforts. Buckhead residents and leaders have been particularly concerned about the dangerous trend, which has helped reignite a call for the neighborhood to form its own city.