‘Somebody knows something’: Atlanta police canvass neighborhood where 12-year-old was killed

Atlanta police Sgt. A. Lavigeour (left) and Westview Community Organization President Jason Hudgins canvass houses in Atlanta’s Westview community Thursday as authorities continue searching for clues in the fatal shooting of 12-year-old David Mack.

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

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Atlanta police Sgt. A. Lavigeour (left) and Westview Community Organization President Jason Hudgins canvass houses in Atlanta’s Westview community Thursday as authorities continue searching for clues in the fatal shooting of 12-year-old David Mack.

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Police went door to door in a southwest Atlanta neighborhood Thursday afternoon as investigators continued their search for clues in the fatal shooting of a 12-year-old boy.

David Mack’s family discovered his body in a creek bed near a public golf course Feb. 10, one day after the seventh grader’s grandmother reported him missing.

Mack was shot multiple times behind a neighborhood on Shirley Street, not far from the home he shared with his grandmother and older sister. More than two weeks later, the search for the killer continues.

Concerned residents, two city councilmembers and dozens of Atlanta police officers gathered at the nearby McGhee Tennis Center before splitting up to look for witnesses who might offer a break in the case. The search included motorcycle officers, two mounted patrols on horseback and several members of Mack’s family.

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Atlanta police Maj. D’Andrea Price gives instructions to officers as they start to canvass Atlanta’s Westview community Thursday.

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Atlanta police Maj. D’Andrea Price gives instructions to officers as they start to canvass Atlanta’s Westview community Thursday.

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

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Atlanta police Maj. D’Andrea Price gives instructions to officers as they start to canvass Atlanta’s Westview community Thursday.

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Investigators said neighborhood canvassing efforts are fairly common after serious crimes, though they aren’t typically announced publicly.

“We are trying to get help anywhere we can on this one,” Officer Steve Avery said.

David’s family described the Young Middle School student as a typical 12-year-old. He was outgoing, loved computers and planned to study engineering in college, his grandmother Glenda Mack said.

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David Mack, 12, was found shot to death this month near his southwest Atlanta neighborhood. His family had reported him missing the night before.

Credit: Family Photo

David Mack, 12, was found shot to death this month near his southwest Atlanta neighborhood. His family had reported him missing the night before.

Credit: Family Photo

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David Mack, 12, was found shot to death this month near his southwest Atlanta neighborhood. His family had reported him missing the night before.

Credit: Family Photo

Credit: Family Photo

He also loved being outside and playing football with his friends, which is where he said he was going the last time she spoke to him.

David typically came home before dark, however, so his grandmother started to worry Feb. 9 as the clock on the stove neared 6 p.m. and he wasn’t there for dinner. She called David’s cellphone repeatedly. Each time it went straight to voicemail. It wasn’t like him to be out so late and it wasn’t normal for his phone to be off, Glenda Mack said.

Explore‘He had his whole life’: Family struggles after 12-year-old’s shooting death

After waiting hours for him to come home, she and David’s sister drove around their neighborhood searching for him. By 8:45 p.m., Mack called the police to their Beecher Road home and filed a missing persons report. Officers searched the area that evening but were unable to find the boy.

The following morning, David’s family set out to find him again. They discovered his body about 1:45 p.m. in a wooded area near the John A. White Golf Course.

He would have turned 13 last week.

Among those who helped knock on doors Thursday afternoon was Jason Hudgins, president of the Westview Community Organization. He said many in his neighborhood were distraught after learning of the boy’s death, especially since the community lost several children during the Atlanta Child Murders more than four decades ago.

“Any murder would be a problem, but to lose a child is something that’s unbearable,” Hudgins said after handing a flyer to an older man sitting outside his home. “It’s something that’s shaken the community to the core.”

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Jason Hudgins (left) passes out flyers in his neighborhood Thursday as authorities search for clues in the fatal shooting of 12-year-old David Mack.

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Jason Hudgins (left) passes out flyers in his neighborhood Thursday as authorities search for clues in the fatal shooting of 12-year-old David Mack.

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

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Jason Hudgins (left) passes out flyers in his neighborhood Thursday as authorities search for clues in the fatal shooting of 12-year-old David Mack.

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Most of the neighbors who volunteers spoke with were already familiar with David’s murder, though few seemed to have any leads that might help investigators solve the case. Atlanta police assured them no lead was too small, and directed residents to a tip line if they remember anything from that day.

Interim police Chief Rodney Bryant called David’s death “deeply disturbing” and promised Mack’s family he would do everything in his power to bring them closure.

“This is so troubling that we’re out here for a 12-year-old, but I assure the family, this community and this city that the Atlanta Police Department will continue to work very diligently until we get some resolve,” Bryant said. “We’re doing everything that we possibly can.”

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Interim Atlanta police Chief Rodney Bryant speaks during a news conference Thursday.

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Interim Atlanta police Chief Rodney Bryant speaks during a news conference Thursday.

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

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Interim Atlanta police Chief Rodney Bryant speaks during a news conference Thursday.

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@ajc.com

Glenda Mack has been staying with her daughter and her husband since David’s death. Other than grabbing clothes and the occasional personal item, she said it’s just too tough to go back home.

She said she was appreciative of the support from the police department and the community, but wishes she knew what happened to her grandson that afternoon. Mack said she’s struggling to understand how anyone could have killed the fun-loving child she raised from birth, and wants whoever was responsible brought to justice.

“I know somebody knows something,” she said ahead of the canvass. “I just need some help.”

Atlanta police have not announced any suspects in the case. It’s also unclear why someone may have targeted David. Authorities recently increased the reward for information in the case to $10,000, hopeful that someone who knows what happened will come forward.

ExploreReward increased to $10K in search for 12-year-old’s killer

“I loved him, and there wasn’t a day that went by that he didn’t tell me he loved me, too,” Glenda Mack told the volunteers ahead of the search. “I miss that a lot.”

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Glenda Mack speaks to reporters Thursday afternoon about the fatal shooting of her 12-year-old grandson, David.

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@

Glenda Mack speaks to reporters Thursday afternoon about the fatal shooting of her 12-year-old grandson, David.

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@

Combined ShapeCaption
Glenda Mack speaks to reporters Thursday afternoon about the fatal shooting of her 12-year-old grandson, David.

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@

Credit: Alyssa Pointer / Alyssa.Pointer@

Anyone with information is asked to contact Atlanta police. Tipsters can remain anonymous, and be eligible for rewards of up to $2,000, by contacting Crime Stoppers Atlanta at 404-577-8477, texting information to 274637 or visiting the Crime Stoppers website.