ATLANTA -- Atlanta police are heavily patrolling the neighborhoods around East Atlanta Villagewhile investigatinganotherhomicide in two weeks.

Residents of the area have also hired off-duty officers to patrol the Village. Those patrols will begin this weekend.

East Atlanta Community Association president Kevin Spigener said the patrols are already in place for homes in the area, but the neighborhood will pay around $45,000 a year add the service to East Atlanta Village. Spigener said they will raise the money through fundraisers and donations from businesses and homeowners.

On Saturday night, policesay three men were walking on May Avenue, a side street near the bar and restaurant district,when another man got out of a car to rob them.

The suspect shot two of the men. One was hit inthe leg, the other inthe stomach. That victim, 33-year-old Patrick Cotrona, died of his injuries.

Monday night, Cotrona's older sister erected a memorial in his honor with a cardboard sign that read "His name was Patrick Cotrona." The sign went on to say he enjoyed video games, beer, attended Georgia Tech and owned a home in East Atlanta.

Kate Cotrona Krumm said she put the sign up to show that her brother was more than just a statistic.

"This is anyone," she said. "This is you. This is a person just going out with his friends to get a drink at the bar."

Last Saturday night, a 28-year-old man was gunned down on Metropolitan Avenue nearby.

"They're armed and dangerous and folks that are walking back from the village need to be very, very careful about walking around in this neighborhood," said homeowner Warren Street.

He says the violence is one reason whyhe and his wife are moving at the end of the week with their three young boys.

Neighbors say the lighting in the area doesn't help. The area of the most recent robbery has two lights overhead, but neither work. Neighbors say they haven't for weeks.

"You feel less safe when you're walking back and it's completely dark," said homeowner Rob Downs.

Downs says he's tried to get the lights fixed. Even better, he'd like to see more added to the street.

"This residential neighborhood they pretty much put a street light every other pole so you end up with pretty much a whole area that's completely dark," he said.

Atlanta city council member Natalyn Archibong says that is one of the things they will focus on fixing in the coming weeks.

"I am very, very concerned, to the point that I've had conversations with our law enforcement professionals, and we are going to have more manpower, more police presence," she said.

"But more importantly, we are going to have a concerted effort to have more lighting and more cameras."

Patrons say the lights would help stop crime and give witnesses a better chance to identify suspects when incidents do happen.

"It helps you be vigilant, you can see what's going on. See if somebody's approaching," said Chris Anderson, visiting East Atlanta Village with a friend.

Others propose more cameras and police patrols.

"When I'm in virginia highlands at night and nicer areas of Atlanta you do see more police presence, you see more vans parked there. We don't see that much here," said Downs.

Police do not believe the murders are connected, but say some of the robberies might be. Police say they'll be comparing the ballistics and witness statements from all of the recent incidents to help identify the suspects.

Read or Share this story: