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12-year-old killed, 5 teens injured in shooting near Atlantic Station, Atlanta mayor says

Mayor Andre Dickens and police said that all of those involved were teenagers. One of them is in critical condition.

ATLANTA — At least one person is dead and five more are injured after a dispute led to a shooting near Atlantic Station around 8 p.m. Saturday night, police said.

Atlanta Police said one person died from his injuries at the scene while five other people were rushed to the hospital.

On Sunday, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said that victim killed was a 12-year-old boy, who was later identified by the Fulton County Medical Examiner as Zyion Charles.

Credit: WXIA
12-year-old Zyion Charles was killed during a shooting at Atlantic Station on Saturday night.

Dickens added that a few of the others involved, including another victim in critical condition, were Atlanta Public Schools students. In addition, he said all of those involved were teenagers. 

On Monday, Atlanta Public Schools issued a statement specifying that two of the teenagers injured were students with the district. APS added that the other teens involved attended KIPP charter schools.

Police said that the large group was escorted off the Atlantic Station property by off-duty APD officers and Atlantic Station personnel due to unruly behavior and curfew violations that the popular location has.

Once the group moved over to 17th Street near the overpass of the Downtown Connector, an argument broke out between the group and the dispute led to gunfire on Market Street. Police said that it's possible that the shootout was between two groups and that there could be multiple shooters.

On Sunday, Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum mentioned that all of those involved knew each other.

There is a 3 p.m. curfew that is strictly enforced for all kids that are under the age of 18 that are not with a parent or guardian, according to Atlantic Station's official website. It also states that juvenile groups of at least four or more will be sent away.

APD did not specify where on the Atlantic Station property the group was before being escorted off. They are currently working on obtaining surveillance footage from nearby businesses and residences.

In his Sunday press conference, Mayor Dickens pointed to the heightened presence of police that was already in place at Atlantic Station on the night of the shooting. He also stressed the importance of parents keeping track of where their children are. 

Dickens noted that while offering condolences to parents of the victims, he had several say they didn't even know their kids were at Atlantic Station, let alone knew of a curfew in place there.

The shooting comes at one of the busiest times for the popular shopping and entertainment destination. Shoppers in the district have been out and about for the holiday season, especially with Black Friday just concluding.

Additionally, the ever-popular Cirque du Soleil shows have flooded people into Atlantic Station all weekend for their events that are playing through Dec. 24.

A resident who lives nearby was able to capture a video of the hectic scene from high above with a view from outside her window.

In a statement, Atlantic Station said:

Atlantic Station is helping law enforcement in every way possible during the active investigation following the incident on the 17th Street bridge. Atlantic Station is private property and has a 24/7 security team comprised of off-duty Atlanta Police Department officers and Atlantic Station security personnel that strictly enforce the Code of Conduct and curfew on property. Atlantic Station stands behind its security team, and had 26 off-duty police officers and security on staff the night of the incident. After violating the Code of Conduct regulations, the group of juveniles was immediately dispersed and escorted off property to 17th Street where the incident occurred, which is the city of Atlanta’s jurisdiction.

The community's safety continues to be Atlantic Station’s top priority, and Atlantic Station has been working with the APD to enact several increased security measures on property including:  

  • The number of law enforcement officers on-site has been doubled into the foreseeable future to discourage group gatherings, combat crime and help enforce curfew.
  • Atlantic Station is a part of APD's evening watch program, which confirms that active officers must stay within the footprint of Atlantic Station to be ready to respond quickly to any future incidents, as they were able to do as it relates to the overnight incident.
  • Ongoing meetings will be scheduled with APD to continue discussions about how to further enhance security at Atlantic Station.

11Alive's Dawn White spoke to a witness who said that as many as 30 rounds could be heard as gunfire rang out.

Atlanta Police is asking the public for help in the investigation and urged people to notify Crime Stoppers with information on the shooting if you have it at 404-577-8477. Police have still not said whether they have a suspect in custody.

Atlanta Police Department provided an update on the chaotic night at the popular shopping district:

This is a developing story. Check back often for new information.

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