ATLANTA — A crowd of 40 people endured the midday sun and what they say is the indifference of the property owners at Forest Cove, a troubled apartment complex near the Atlanta federal penitentiary.
"I've been staying here five years," Stephanie Hobson told 11Alive. "The crime rate is high. The drug rate is high. They won’t fix nothing."
"Someone threw a cocktail bomb through my apartment. Me and my son was in there," added Joe Ann Mathis, who's son is just 10 years old. The incident happened a year ago.
That’s on top of the shootout Sunday where a bullet grazed a 6-month-old girl. The gunmen in that case are still at large.
"They treat the victims here like they don’t matter," a woman shouted to the crowd surrounding her in the Thomasville Heights neighborhood in SE Atlanta.
It was a protest years in the making, in a community with a long history of violence.
"We got rats. We got all the drug boys done took over," Mathis said. "Your children can’t come out and play, lest they’re scared they’re going to get shot. I have a 10-year-old here. I have to keep him in my eyesight at all times."
They marched, then turned onto a dirt path in a pine forest connecting the two halves of the complex. Residents said the path is the only direct route between many of their homes and the management office.
When they arrived, the management office had abruptly closed.
"Why is the office closed?" a woman shouted as the crowd assembled outside the door.
The question went unanswered – one of many in this area’s long, troubled history.