ATLANTA — The Atlanta Police Department is pleading with the community to "put down the guns." The call to action comes after the city passed 100 homicides for the year over the weekend.
In a news conference at the Atlanta Police Headquarters on Monday, Deputy Chief Charles Hampton Jr. said about 20 percent of homicides happen between strangers. Hampton said this means the majority of deadly situations occur between people who know each other.
"They had some type of past interaction, and then also stemming from some escalating disputes," he said.
Hampton said 90 percent of homicides involved handguns before he urged people to find another way to resolve their conflicts, saying it would make their jobs "so much easier."
"Be responsible with these handguns. We're asking people to find other ways to resolve some of these dispute we're seeing a lot of," Hampton said. "We're seeing a lot of verbal arguments that escalate and the weapon of choice is handguns."
Police persisted and requested that those who know information about any violent crimes in the city to come forward through the anonymous Crime Stoppers hotline.
"We need your assistance," Hampton said.
Crime left officers busy over the weekend once again. A double shooting left a brother and sister dead in their own neighborhood Friday night.. So far, police have made an arrest in what they say is a "targeted shooting."
Police also found a man with multiple gunshot wounds inside a vehicle on Saturday. That man was taken to a hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
Three more people were killed after a shooting in a parking lot near a popular Atlanta lounge early Sunday morning, one of which was in a wheelchair. This incident marked the 103rd homicide for the city.
"We’re just seeing a lot senseless acts of violence in our community and we’re just pleading again that people remain calm. We’re asking people to resolve their conflicts in a manner where, again, talk or just talk to simply walk away," Hampton said.
During the 34th week of the year, Atlanta had 61 murders in 2018, 63 murders in 2019, and 92 murders in 2020, according to data on the department’s website.
'We're asking people to put the guns down," Hampton said. "Lets just talk. Let's communicate. Let's just be decent human beings that we know we can be."
This is the earliest in the year Atlanta has seen 100 homicides in the past few years.
"It's definitely frustrating to see the type of violence, and especially to see that, a lot of times, it didn't have to happen," Hampton said.