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Woman, newborn baby fighting for their lives after shooting at DeKalb condos plagued with issues

County officials said they are well aware of the issues and are working to resolve them.

ATLANTA — A woman and her newborn baby are fighting for their lives after a shooting at a troubled DeKalb County condo complex, police said.

“It’s so scary. We [are] human you know, we trust God, but it’s not safe all the time,” said Brannon Hill resident Betty Tamrat. 

She explained conditions at her condominium have been subpar for years, saying that it's hard to relax and come outside at any point.

Thursday morning was one of those times, according to DeKalb County Police. They arrived at the complex around 5:45 a.m. to find a pregnant woman had been shot.  

“I heard the gunshots and I went to get up and he said stay down, stay down, don’t get up,” said Deana, another member of Brannon Hill.

Deana’s husband told her to take cover when the shots rang out, and they were still in disbelief to hear about the woman who was shot.  

“I’m blown away, I’m surprised. I shocked. I’m very sick to my stomach," she said. "I don’t even want to eat now knowing it was a pregnant woman and that something like that happened.”

RELATED: Pregnant woman, newborn in critical condition after shooting at troubled condos, Dekalb Police say

Police said they are currently investigating the incident and following leads, but this particular complex has a troubled history with crime, crumbling buildings, and blight making headlines for decades.

In just the past two years, two people were arrested and charged with murder in a shooting that played out amid the kidnapping of a baby.

Last January, a fire burned through the complex destroying eight units. Six months later, six people were shot at the condos; three were killed.

But county officials said they are well aware of the issues and are working to resolve them.

“We are trying to get it to be a better place to stay to make it more safe,” said Allen Mitchell,  Dekalb’s director of Community Development.

“We’ve done a lot of significant things over the years, including blight removal, health and safety, and also providing nourishment -- it's a food desert there,” added Mitchell in an exclusive interview.  

Mitchell, who directly works with the Brannon Hill community, said over the years, they’ve removed more than 1,200 tons of debris from the property, demolished several buildings totaling over 100 condo units, and added surveillance cameras in the area. All efforts residents applaud but still say they need more to feel safe.

“It’s getting better but we need more,” Tamrat said.

Officials said part of the complication with addressing concerns at the complex is that the condos are individually owned, so the county has had to go after each individual owner when changes are required.

Still, Dekalb county commissioner Ted Terry tells us the county has put aside $100,000 to revitalize the community and says that will help the county clean up the site.
"We need to get back to the neighbors and ask them what additional security features do we need to employ that safety, to keep something like this from happening ever again," said Terry, who adds their goal is making sure the community is brought back to its former glory as one of the premier complexes in the area.

As for the shooting, police have not identified a motive or suspect just yet.

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