ATLANTA — After responding Thursday to a spurt of three separate, unconnected gun incidents around the city, Atlanta Police made clear what kind of challenge they face with these kinds of spontaneous violent episodes.
"Anger is so hard for this police department to predict," Interim Police Chief Darin Schierbaum said. "We don't know when there's gonna be an angry moment that arises and a handgun is introduced."
The three incidents sent APD scrambling around the city.
In one, a man was found shot dead at an apartment on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in southwest Atlanta. In another, a man was suspected of killing a woman at a high-rise building off North Avenue before later going to Central Park and dying by suicide.
And in another, a young man in his 20s was in critical condition and in surgery at the hospital after he and his friends were playing with a gun in an apartment at Atlantic Station when it went off and struck him.
Schierbaum, who took over as interim chief in May, stressed that the city is making progress against violent crime. He said homicides are trending down, and if the trend continues they would even wind up a net negative in 2022 from 2021.
"But moments of anger? That is why we're appealing to the citizens. We can't stop moments of anger," he said. "And we do need individuals to know that a combination (of anger and) a weapon at hand is gonna lead to tragedy."
Deputy Chief Charles Hampton, speaking on the Atlantic Station incident, said the city needs guns to be handled with care and consideration, as well.
"Gunplay, again, is tragic in our city," Hampton said. "We have a proliferation of guns, and we're just asking people to be responsible when handling a weapon."
Schierbaum highlighted efforts against gang and drug crimes, saying "we are attacking crime in this city, and we are reducing crime in the area of gangs and drugs."
"But senseless tragedies where anger and guns are at play leads us once again," to having to address a violent moment in Atlanta.
"This police department is making an appeal that when you're angry, put the weapons down, walk away from the weapons," the interim chief said. "We ask for the city's help."