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Parents concerned for children's safety after young man shot, killed; 3 more wounded in northwest Atlanta

Atlanta police said the four men, in their 20s, had set up a meeting at an apartment complex in NW Atlanta for Monday afternoon, when someone opened fire.

ATLANTA — Gunfire ripped through the calm of a northwest Atlanta apartment complex Monday– where children are usually at play.

Police said four young men were shot and one of the four died. The other three were in a hospital Monday night.

Atlanta police were racing to find out what led up to the gunfire– did the men shoot each other or is a murderer on the loose?

Parents said they are constantly aching, working, to protect their children from violent crime. 

“And then stuff like this happens!” said Arnethia Calhoun, who lives at the apartment complex.

At about 2:30 p.m., the sudden snap of gunfire split the welcome calm of a rainy afternoon, in the parking lot of Flipper Temple Apartments, in the Carver Hills neighborhood of northwest Atlanta.

RELATED: 1 killed, 3 others hurt after gunfire breaks out at Atlanta apartment complex, police say

The gunfire struck four men in their 20s, police said. Three of the men were able to get away.

But then, when police arrived, they found the fourth man inside a car in the parking lot.

“And that’s it, they just pulled him out of the car,” a resident named Alli said. “They put him in the ambulance. That was it. They just put him in the ambulance and drove off.”

The man died at Grady Memorial Hospital in downtown Atlanta, police said, while the other three drove themselves to the hospital for treatment. The Fulton County Medical Examiner later identified the person who died as 27-year-old Elijah Jackson. 

Acting Atlanta Police Homicide Commander Andrew Smith said at the scene that the four men were acquainted with each other.

“We do know that there was a pre-arranged meeting at this location,” Lt. Smith said. “All four males met at this location, for an unknown reason. We are still investigating to determine why they were here.”

For four hours, parents and their children were unable to come or go from their apartments, while police searched the property and nearby neighborhoods for others who might have been involved, and searched for the guns, and for witnesses.

“It seems like it’s getting just worser and worser, it’s always something going on,” said one frustrated mother, who asked not to be identified, as she and her neighbors watched their children entertain themselves as best they could, in the driveway leading to the complex.

She and others struggled to find words– stunned to think of how easily children might have been shot.

Calhoun said she is trying to move away.

“Babies are everywhere,” she said. “They have no place to play, really, but this so-called park” at the apartment complex where the men were shot. “Any other day, that park would be full of babies. But maybe because it’s raining, we had a good day... It’s a whole gang fight. You know, we can never be safe, it’s not safe out here.”

The latest Atlanta police numbers (as of the week ending on March 25, 2023) show crime in Police Zone One, which includes northwest Atlanta, is down for the year, so far, compared with this time last year, except for motor vehicle theft:

  • Homicide: Down 75%
  • Rape: Down 50%
  • Aggravated Assault: Down 21%
  • Robbery: Down 14%
  • Burglary/Breaking & Entering: Down 10%
  • Theft from Motor Vehicle: Down 10%
  • Shoplifting: Down 35%
  • All Other Larceny: Down 6%
  • Motor Vehicle Theft: Up 14%

Those numbers for Zone One generally mirror the trends in lower crime rates across the entire city as a whole.

That is little comfort to the residents on this day, who, at 2:30 p.m. on a rainy afternoon, found out that the chance of gunfire outside their homes was 100 percent.

“It’s very stressful, it’s scary," Calhoun said. “We have small children out here, we don’t know if we can go outside, if we should go outside, people walk around with guns, freely. It’s scary out here.”

Police are looking through security camera video from the apartments, including at the scene of the shootings, to try to identify everyone who was there before and during the gunfire.

And they’re asking anyone who has any information to contact Atlanta police, or Crime Stoppers Atlanta at 404-577-TIPS (404-577-8477).

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