Killings mark start of crime-fighting initiative

On the day that Atlanta police began an aggressive crime-fighting initiative, detectives Friday added two more cases to a growing list of unsolved homicides that have fueled perceptions that violent crime is out of control.

In one overnight incident, a man died after being shot, then run over, in downtown, just blocks from the Atlanta police Zone 5 precinct.

The man, whose identity has not been determined, was found dead about 12:30 a.m. Friday in the roadway at the intersection of Cone and Williams streets.

Police said the victim had been shot several times, then run over, apparently intentionally. He was pronounced dead at Grady Memorial Hospital.

Less than two hours earlier, a man was found shot on the sidewalk along Kimberly Road in southwest Atlanta. That man, whose name has not been released, later died at Grady.

Atlanta police spokesman Eric Schwartz said investigators had made no arrests in either shooting.

The shootings came just hours after a news conference where police Chief Richard Pennington and Mayor Shirley Franklin laid out a plan that will put dozens more cops on the street, increase patrols in areas known for criminal activity and quadruple the size of the department’s gang unit.

The press briefing was called following a rash of weekend violence on the city’s streets that included the unsolved murder of former boxing champion Vernon Forrest and the carjacking of Councilman Ceasar Mitchell.