In East Atlanta Village, a push for security fails to stop burglary death

Alexan EAV on Metropolitan Avenue in East Atlanta Village. (Credit: Ryan Harris)

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Alexan EAV on Metropolitan Avenue in East Atlanta Village. (Credit: Ryan Harris)

On Sunday night, residents of Alexan EAV, a new “luxury” complex on Metropolitan Avenue in East Atlanta Village, gathered to talk about security. There’d been a rash of break-ins and shady characters trying to slip into the gated development, the residents said.

On Monday afternoon, one resident returned home to find a burglary underway and was shot to death, according to Atlanta police. By Tuesday, authorities hadn't released the identity of the victim or named any suspects.

As word spread, a shudder shot through the neighborhood, especially those in the apartments.

“I think it has absolutely destroyed the community,” Alexan EAV resident Ryan Harris told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday. “My phone did not stop buzzing all day yesterday. People were in disbelief, outraged. People want to break their leases. People are talking about lawyers.”

Atlanta Councilwoman Natalyn Archibong called a community meeting for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday on public safety in light of the "tragic and horrific events."

The apartments, which feature such amenities as a “modern clubroom,” coffee bar and ping pong table, sit near Moreland Avenue in the eclectic, busy village.

According to residents, safety concerns have been raised with complex management multiple times.

Harris said the response has been “flippant” and ineffective. He said there have been problems with the gate and the entrances to the building, which has resident doors on the inside.

Messages left at the complex weren’t immediately returned Tuesday.

Harris pointed to the letter management sent out Monday night, which he shared with the AJC, as evidence of its attitude toward security.

It urged residents to call police if they knew anything about the burglary and said authorities were searching for a suspect described as an “African American male wearing a surgical mask.” But the end of the letter struck Harris wrong.

“As you are aware, crime occurs everywhere,” management wrote. “No one can ensure your safety or the safety of your guests. You, as well as the authorities, are responsible for your safety. We urge you to act responsibly and take what reasonable steps you can to address the safety of yourself and your guests.”

Harris said a recent letter about break-ins ended the same way.

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