2020 has been a deadly year for youths in metro Atlanta

Secoriea Turner, left, and Kennedy Maxie were among the youngest victims of gunfire in Atlanta in 2020.
Secoriea Turner, left, and Kennedy Maxie were among the youngest victims of gunfire in Atlanta in 2020.

Credit: Family photos

Credit: Family photos

Gunfire has claimed 20 young victims

She was out Christmas shopping with her family when a stray bullet struck her in the head. Kennedy Maxie, 7, had been riding with her mother and aunt near Phipps Plaza in Buckhead.

The child’s aunt told detectives she heard the gunfire while driving along Peachtree Road. Moments later, she realized Kennedy had been struck and drove straight to the hospital, where the little girl was rushed into surgery.

The Cobb County girl, who attended Sedalia Park Elementary, died Saturday.

Kennedy’s followed other heartbreaks, as more than 20 children and teens have been shot in metro Atlanta this year.

Jan. 11: Ricarrio Hale, 14, was killed in a DeKalb County neighborhood. Ricarrio was a freshman at Miller Grove High School in Stonecrest. The teen and three others arranged to meet two people to purchase an iPhone 6 in the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church parking lot, investigators initially told Channel 2. When they met, police said the teens took the phone and ran away without paying. However, a spokesman for Ricarrio’s family said one of the other teens took the phone without his involvement.

Feb. 4: Antonio Jones, 18, died in a drive-by shooting at a southwest Atlanta apartment complex, according to police. A bystander flagged down officers to alert them that Antonio had been shot, according to Atlanta police. The 18-year-old was shot in the head and died at the scene. A witness told officers a vehicle drove through the complex and someone inside the car fired several shots.

Haley Adams
Haley Adams

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

Feb. 11: Haley Adams, 14, was killed in a Coweta County home invasion, according to police. According to witnesses, the armed suspects stormed into a residence on Bethlehem Church Road, shouted unspecified demands, and started shooting. After the teen was hit in the back, the suspects took off in a silver, four-door passenger car, the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office previously said. The robbers took nothing from the home, but Haley died from her injuries.

Feb. 25: J’Viontay Woodmore, 17, and Demarcus Woodard, 18, were killed and a third person was injured in a shooting in East Point, according to police. Officers responded to a call about gunshots near Main Street and Cleveland Avenue about 4:20 p.m. One teen died at the scene and the second died at the hospital, according to police.

April 11: Gabriel Vasquez, 7, was killed when he was hit by a stray bullet inside his Lamont Avenue home in the Conley area. The shooting was the result of a dispute between suspected drug dealers and gang members, according to the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office. Two suspects were later arrested in connection to Gabriel’s death.

April 22: De’onte Roberts, 16, was killed after he argued with his mother and stepfather about leaving their southwest Atlanta home during a shelter-in-place order, police said. His stepfather, 42-year-old Bernie Hargrove, was arrested on a charge of felony murder after the shooting at the home on Lisbon Drive. De’onte’s mother told investigators they wanted him to remain inside due to concerns about the coronavirus, but he went against their wishes. When De’onte returned home, he and his stepfather fought and the teen was shot, according to police.

May 27: Ka’Mani' Kirkland, 18, had just graduated from South Cobb High School and planned to study nursing in college. She was killed in what investigators believe was an accidental shooting. Ka’Mani' had picked up a friend, who shot her from the backseat as she drove, her family said. Christopher Morris, 17, a former classmate of Ka’Mani’s, was later arrested and charged with involuntary manslaughter and possession of a gun by a person under 18.

June 13: Semaj Jones, 17, was killed in a drive-by shooting in northeast Atlanta, according to police. Officers responded to a call on Mayson Avenue in the Edgewood neighborhood about 5:45 p.m. after receiving calls about shots being fired into a group of people. A 25-year-old was also killed and five others were injured.

June 27: Jalanni Pless,18, was shot several times near a Midtown apartment building, according to police. Investigators believe Jalanni may have been with a group of teens selling water when he was killed. His family later said he was killed over $10, according to media reports.

Secoreia Turner
Secoreia Turner

July 4: Secoriea Turner, 8, was shot to death as she rode with her mother and a family friend in Atlanta. Secoriea’s mother, Charmaine Turner, has said gunmen blocked University Avenue and then started shooting. The incident happened amid protests following the June 12 shooting death of Rayshard Brooks at a University Avenue Wendy’s, since torched and razed. Authorities have arrested a suspect, a man who admits being present but says he did not fire.

July 28: Aiden Kelly, 3, died after finding a gun and shooting himself in the head in Atlanta, according to police. The boy was rushed to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Hughes Spalding in critical condition but did not survive. Aidan’s mother and her boyfriend were later charged with second-degree murder. Ashley Crystal Kelly and Denzel Thomas also face second-degree cruelty to children charges in the shooting, according to police.

May 20: Majesty Riley, 13, was visiting relatives when she was killed in an accidental shooting in Clayton County, according to media reports. Majesty, who lived in Illinois, was killed by an 11-year-old relative, according to her family. She was a rising 8th grader.

October 16, 2020 Clayton County: Santiago Zavala (center) holds a photo of his slain 13-year old son Brayan on Friday, Oct. 16, 2020 as Jesus Zavala (left) said he had no warning before his 13-year-old brother was shot and killed in front of him Thursday night in their front yard in Clayton County. The two were working on a lawn mower outside their home on Willow Lane, located in a mobile home community off Ga. 85 outside Riverdale. The elder brother barely noticed when a Chevrolet HHR pulled up to his neighbor’s house and a man climbed out, he said. “The shooter didn’t even say I want your money, or this is a robbery or I’m assaulting you,” Zavala, 16, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution from outside his home on Friday. “He just came, stood there (in) silence and shot my brother. Just for killing.” Brayan Zavala was dead when Clayton County police officers arrived about 9:15 p.m. The Kendrick Middle School student was not a troublemaker, his brother said. He was a typical kid who spent most days with his family since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Work, then home. Homework, then rest.
A Clayton County police spokesman on Thursday said investigators have yet to determine a connection between Brayan and the gunman. Investigators collected evidence at the mobile home park community overnight and declined to provide more information at the scene, Channel 2 Action News reported. The family has started a GoFundMe fundraiser to take Brayan’s body back to Mexico to be buried. (John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com)
October 16, 2020 Clayton County: Santiago Zavala (center) holds a photo of his slain 13-year old son Brayan on Friday, Oct. 16, 2020 as Jesus Zavala (left) said he had no warning before his 13-year-old brother was shot and killed in front of him Thursday night in their front yard in Clayton County. The two were working on a lawn mower outside their home on Willow Lane, located in a mobile home community off Ga. 85 outside Riverdale. The elder brother barely noticed when a Chevrolet HHR pulled up to his neighbor’s house and a man climbed out, he said. “The shooter didn’t even say I want your money, or this is a robbery or I’m assaulting you,” Zavala, 16, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution from outside his home on Friday. “He just came, stood there (in) silence and shot my brother. Just for killing.” Brayan Zavala was dead when Clayton County police officers arrived about 9:15 p.m. The Kendrick Middle School student was not a troublemaker, his brother said. He was a typical kid who spent most days with his family since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Work, then home. Homework, then rest. A Clayton County police spokesman on Thursday said investigators have yet to determine a connection between Brayan and the gunman. Investigators collected evidence at the mobile home park community overnight and declined to provide more information at the scene, Channel 2 Action News reported. The family has started a GoFundMe fundraiser to take Brayan’s body back to Mexico to be buried. (John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com)

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

Oct. 15: Brayan Zavala, 13, died after being shot outside his family’s Clayton County home. According to his brother, Brayan was killed by a man wearing a ski mask, a long-sleeve sweater and black pants who drove away in a dark-colored Chevy. Brayan, a Kendrick Middle School student, died days before his 14th birthday. No arrests have been made.

Nov. 5: Jonah Poole, 17, was killed by another 17-year-old at a Cobb County apartment complex, according to police. Josiah Maurice Oubre told investigators he went to the Smyrna-area Wellington Point apartments on Maner Terrace to smoke. While he was there, he shot and killed Jonah. Oubre was later arrested and charged with murder and aggravated assault.

Nov. 6: Tyrell Sims, 11, died in a drive-by shooting outside his East Point home. The boy’s father said a black car pulled onto Bell Avenue and someone fired shots, striking Tyrell in the head and killing him. His son loved to play football and was a student at KIPP South Fulton Academy, Connie Sims said.

Nov. 8: Jaden Williams, 15, died three days after he was found shot multiple times at a Fairburn Road apartment complex, according to Atlanta police. A reward of up to $5,000 was being offered for information in the case.

Nov. 24: A 12-year-old girl was shot in the leg after a gun was fired from a neighboring apartment in southwest Atlanta, according to police. The boy’s name was not released. A neighbor was being questioned in the shooting.

Dec. 4: Jada Willingham, 5, died after another child shot her in the face near Lithonia, according to DeKalb County police. The gun’s owner was later arrested and charged with second-degree murder.

Dec. 12: A 16-year-old boy was shot to death in Lawrenceville, according to police. Investigators were searching for 18-year-old suspect Malachi Mathew Perkins, who was arrested days later. In addition to murder, Perkins faces three counts of aggravated assault and one count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

Dec. 21: Kennedy Maxie, 7, was struck by a stray bullet while Christmas shopping with her family in Buckhead. The Cobb County girl died from her injuries six days later.

Dec. 26: A 16-year-old Atlanta girl, Kalecia Williams, was shot and killed at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta on Peachtree Street. Another 16-year-old, a boy who was not identified, was charged with murder.

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