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Family demands change after man dies in Fulton County Jail

Shamar Mcelroy's family told 11Alive his death was a homicide. Neither the Fulton County Sheriff's Office nor APD have released details on the investigation.

FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — The family of 20-year-old Shamar Mcelroy showed up outside the Fulton County jail Tuesday evening to hold a vigil in his honor. He was found dead in his jail cell on Oct. 19, 2022. 

Mcelroy's family told 11Alive his death was being treated as a homicide and that Mcelroy was found with his hands and feet tied up and he was wrapped up like a mummy.

"Shamar did not deserve what happened to him in this facility," explained Mcelroy's cousin Robert Gray.

Neither the Fulton County Sheriff's Office nor the Atlanta Police Department have released details on their investigation. 

The family said Tuesday night's vigil was not just about honoring Mcelroy but also shining a light on what's going on inside the jail. 

Credit: WXIA

Gray added that the incident is "definitely a wakeup call," and the family wants "to send a message that this facility is unsafe right now, and before this happens again to someone else’s family, something has to be done immediately."

Meanwhile, Mcelroy's grandmother, Rosie Gray, is now left second guessing herself. 

"I said I was going to let him stay in jail. I thought he would be safer in there than on the streets. I was wrong. I was dead wrong. Now, I'm sorry," she explained. 

Mcelroy's dad on the other hand just hopes his son gets justice, adding "I don’t have any hate in my heart but he cannot just be swept under the rug and not forgotten about."

Credit: WXIA

11Alive has reported in the last couple months that hundreds of inmates are being forced to sleep on the floors inside the Fulton County Jail due to overcrowding.

The ACLU did a study in September and showed as of Sept. 14, 2022 the jail was over capacity by just over 300 inmates. 

On Tuesday night, the Fulton County Sheriff's Office confirmed they've had 10 deaths involving inmates since Jan. 1, 2022 including Mcelroy. Those numbers include homicide, medical and suicide. 

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