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UPDATED: Man Shot Dead in East Atlanta Robbery

Second East Atlanta homicide in a week; part of a string of weekend armed robberies.

EAST ATLANTA — Two men were shot Saturday — one fatally — in what police said was a robbery gone bad, just a few feet away from the bustling Village bar district.

The shooting victims, along with a third person, were walking down May Avenue, just off Flat Shoals Avenue at about 11 p.m. when a gunman accosted them and robbed them, Atlanta Police Department Major Darryl K. Tolleson said.

For some unknown reason, the gunman shot two of the men, striking one in the abdomen and the other in the leg. (Police did not release the victims' names.)

The gunman then jumped into the passenger side of a waiting car and sped away.

It is believed that one of the victims is an East Atlanta resident, Tolleson said, adding police were canvassing the city for the suspect vehicle.

He expressed concern over the string of non-functioning street lights on May Avenue, which plunged a portion of the road in darkness, save the porch lights coming from homes along the street.

In fact, he said the department would make a point of contacting Georgia Power Co. about the lights which have been non-functioning for weeks.

Visitors patronizing Village bars and restaurants often park along May Avenue, making them potential targets at night because it's so dark.

The shooting occurred amid a string of armed robbberies reported to the Atlanta Police Department on the same night, including:

  • Two separate incidents in Reynoldstown
  • The hold up of a pizzeria in Woodland Hills
  • The carjacking of a man in the Memorial Drive BP filling station in Capitol Gateway.

In a separate incident, DeKalb County police reported a 12:30 a.m. armed robbery in the 1800 block of Glenwood Avenue, just east of the I-20 interchange in the Parkview community, the East Atlanta Security Patrol said.

Police are investigating to see if this spate of gun robberies, along with a number of others this month, are connected.

East Atlanta residents already were on edge following last Saturday's shooting death of 27-year-old in the 1200 block of Metropolitan Avenue SE.

The shooter in that crime remains at large and it believed the victim was targeted. The police don't believe the two incidents are connected.

In the wake of the shootings, Atlanta police promise more stepped patrols of the Village at night. The East Atlanta Security Patrol said it would fund additional off-duty patrols as well and leaders of the East Atlanta Community Association said it, too, will follow-up on the non-working street lights.

Ed Gilgor, chairman of Neighborhood Planning Unit-W, told East Atlanta Patch more police on the streets are needed and outlined the neighborhood's response in a statement from the East Atlanta Community Association:

"We find the shooting deplorable and our prayers and thoughts are with the victims and their families. We see this type of violence on a city-wide level and we want it to stop. The APD has too few officers to properly protect the citizens of Atlanta and we want to see action from the Mayor and Council to fund additional officers. We have spoken with Major [Keith] Meadows who has been as forthcoming as possible with information. The APD will begin "blue-lighting" the East Atlanta business district's surrounding streets tonight at around 10 pm by having a patrol car driving with its blue lights on so as to increase police visibility. Chief Turner has authorized overtime in order to make the officers available for foot patrol in and around the Village. We are also investigating improvements in lighting to the surrounding streets to the village as well."

The shootings come amid a string of bold, brazen armed robberies — including a shooting in Grant Park — that have hit Southeast Atlanta communities in the last week alone:

  • May 17: Saman Balkhanian was walking home from an Atlanta Braves game and shot in the head in Grant Park by two assailants who robbed him. The 22-year-old lost an eye in the incident.
  • May 18: Henry Omar Reeves, 27 was shot dead in the 1200 block of Metropolitan Avenue SE. in East Atlanta.
  • May 19: Two armed gunmen robbed a man at 12:33 a.m. as he was walking in the 600 block of Stokeswood Avenue in East Atlanta.
  • May 19: A couple was robbed gunpoint at about 11 p.m. as they were walked down Hamilton Street near Garrett Street in Glenwood Park.
  • May 20: A man walking down Hamilton Avenue SE near Benteen Avenue SE in Boulevard Heights. The victim's iPad was snatched from his hands as he walked down the street and after a brief struggle for the device, his assailant jumped into a waiting car and fled.

Earlier in the month, on May 7 in East Atlanta, a man was walking in the 1600 block of Flat Shoals Road at about 11 p.m. when two men approached — one armed with a revolver and the other with a semi-automatic handgun — and robbed him of his iPhone and wallet.

In addition to the violent robberies, on May 16, police issued a warning to Honda Element owners in East Atlanta, Grant Park, Ormewood Park, Reynoldstown and other Southeast Atlanta communities following a wave of catalytic converter thefts from that model of vehicles.

skullcap May 28, 2013 at 01:44 AM
APD officer responding this morning to the theft of my truck from my driveway said "I'm not going to lie to you, we're overwhelmed with this [crime] wave." Since tagging of street signs and utility poles is suddenly flourishing, i asked if this was possibly gang-related. He answered, "no, it's just that the kids are out of school." Tough to believe that the spate of late-night activity has much to do with thugs enrolled in our schools.
Marty Martin May 28, 2013 at 01:58 PM
Please add the recent string of armed robberies at Woodland Ave and a carjacking on East Confedrate to the list.
Mr Realistic May 28, 2013 at 04:34 PM
So we put more cops on the streets, then they go somewhere else, which doesn't solve anything. Undercover units or surveillance teams covering as large an area as possible to catch these thugs in the act, then convict, sentence, throw the switch, and wash our hands of these useless wastes of oxygen. Sends a clear message to prevent, and takes out the trash with minimal cost possible. Of course this only a surface solution to a very deep rooted problem.
ATLien at Heart May 28, 2013 at 05:59 PM
The bars and businesses shouldn't have to spend any more tax dollars to fund the police that they already fund. This has been an ongoing issue going back to the time I lived there over a decade ago. As a matter of fact, they did have off duty officers working at bars then and the crime was still out of control. I was robbed over 3 times within a 3 month period and had another friend, sadly named Patrick as well, shot and killed even as he gave his wallet to his assailant. The police in Atlanta have serious issues protecting its populous from violent crimes while they focus on revenue generating criminal arrests. Unreal. I am sad for this young man's family. I am sad for the community. I am disgusted at ATL PD. That is why I live in Colorado. If I lived in Atlanta I’d want to live in EAV or Decatur.
Atlsdr May 28, 2013 at 06:58 PM
I live on this block and was home at the time of the shooting. The description of the gun was one I have witnessed by an individual who visits my neighbor. My neighbor that sells drugs. The police have been contacted about the activity but seems to be powerless in stopping it. The individual with the gun lives one street over on Newton Ave. There is a house on the 1400 block of Newton that attracts a slew of questionable individuals that gather almost every day and party into the night. I wonder if this crime, that gun and this individual are connected?
Tim May 28, 2013 at 08:32 PM
They don't do it because they know it is dangerous.
Nic May 28, 2013 at 09:17 PM
Atlsdr, I hope you reported your suspicions about the gun. I’ve walked down Newton before and won’t even drive down that street now. Seems like good street for police to spend some time as well as May Ave. Crime must be prevented. Whatever it takes!
EAVResident May 28, 2013 at 09:31 PM
I really don't think the police can help. I agree with Mr Realistic that the kids will just go to another area where there aren't any police patrols. And frankly, I'm more afraid of kids than I am of adults. Kids today are more ruthless, violent and aggressive than any adults I know. If I see 2-3 kids walking towards me, I move to the other side of the street, and I don't care if those kids are Black, White, Puerto Rican or Chinese. Really, the solution will be the people in the neighborhood. The problem with that is that a lot of people are unarmed and untrained to deal with aggressive criminal behavior. So what can a group of essentially peaceful people do? That is something I would like law enforcement to tell us at community meetings. Out west there are militia groups that patrol their neighborhoods. And there are other groups that patrol the borders in New Mexico and Texas. It may come to that in Atlanta because there are not enough police.
Ms. May 28, 2013 at 10:29 PM
The city is under siege, but hey, everyone should be thankful the mayor has his priorities straight and is gracing us with a stadium.
maddux May 29, 2013 at 12:58 AM
I'm right down flat shoals a couple miles in Gresham Park. The area is covered in punk kids in and out of juve, escalating in violence, and the police shrug and say there is nothing they can do. My neighbors were assaulted in their driveway back to back nights last week (and car stolen next day). The perps sat at a gas station 30 min hanging out since it took an hour for the police to show up! Now the detectives assigned to the case will not return phone calls even though we know where they are staying. I don't like guns, but I am getting my concealed carry permit this week since I can not rely on my police department to protect me. Kasim Reed- this blood is on your hands. Use the hotel/motel tax to protect the citizens!
FaithAlone May 30, 2013 at 05:03 AM
I live close to said house on Newton and am becoming more concerned about what's going on. There's got to be some drug selling activity with so many cars coming and going at all hours, and SPEEDING like crazy. The people hanging out front are LOUD, doesn't matter if it's the middle of the night. I smell them smoking weed right out in the street (that I really don't care about so much, my point is they are totally fearless.) Nearly everyone on this street is a great neighbor, but these guys clearly have no respect for those around them. I hope whoever committed these crimes gets put away for a long time. But as many have said, it's going to take an increased police presence, a smarter use of very limited resources, and a complete culture shift to stigmatize violence instead of glorifying it. That last part seems like the hardest and I certainly don't have the answer.
Atlsdr May 30, 2013 at 02:49 PM
FaithAlone - As a community, we NEED you to care about illegal drug use as this type of activity attracts individuals who commit crimes. When witnessing this type of behavior (drug use, excessive noise, speeding) CALL 911. You can remain anonymous. With the increased patrol in our area, the likeliness of these individuals getting caught and this behavior stopping is greater. Hopefully with enough police visits and warnings, the property owner will get the message and control the activity taking place on his property as he can be held accountable. For those in question, said location is 1505 Newton Ave.
joval May 31, 2013 at 08:10 AM
so how come a description of suspects was not reported? to be PC or is it correctly assumed by the readers? i was brought to this article by my sister who knew one of the victims after i told her i had been robbed at gun point by 5 younger blacks in the middle of the day here in Los Angeles - they made no attempt to disguise themselves at all and there are more and more stories like these happening over and over.
joval May 31, 2013 at 08:11 AM
blacks are getting more violent, brazen and entitled. dr. king had a dream of a nation which didnt judge you by the color of your skin but by the content of their character. well folks people who commit these crimes have given up their right to walk among us by commiting horrible crimes against humanity. do not be fooled - police does not prevent crime nor will be there when you have a gun pointed at you. police is not your personal bodyguard. your security and the safety of your family and property are your responsibility not some local government agency. police carry guns to protect themselves not to protect you.
joval May 31, 2013 at 08:12 AM
all citizens have the God given right to life, liberty and the persuit of happiness therefore we should not have to ask permission from a far away government to protect ourselves. criminals do not care about gun laws, they do not care who they hurt and will not hesitate to take your property and life if they see you as prey. an armed and vigilant populace is the only thing that will get a criminal's attention. they only understand force and it is sad that here in CA as in other states ignorant politicians with hidden agendas have passed legislation that have made me the victim and the pistol that saved my life a crime to carry. the robbers made off with $30k but it will be at the expense of every other black business person i encounter in the future. where is the black communities' leadership? where is sharpton and jackson? could have these victims... a baseball fan or the beer lover not also been one of the president's children? they talk gun control but say nothing about babies and toddlers being shot by black youths across the nation, nor mention the war zone that is Chicago where guns are outlawed but 5 people die each day from criminal gun use. we need to call the problem what it is and it is an epidemic in the black community and a big problem for the rest of us. it comes from the breakdown of family and the overwhelming percentage of fatherless black families with kids getting their guidance from music videos, movies or their neighborhood scumbags.
Kyle May 31, 2013 at 12:13 PM
and the robbery / shooting after a recent Braves game in Grant Park. http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/man-recovers-shooting-after-braves-game/nXxgY/
Tam May 31, 2013 at 04:19 PM
Joval, you are toeing the line. I am not more "violent, brazen and entitled". There is a problem, sure, but it is not the majority despite your experience and the horrible recent crimes here. Inciting race wars and doling out scare tactics is not the answer. The President's children? lol Please take your sweeping, biased accusations back to L.A.
John June 01, 2013 at 03:18 AM
For everyones sake.....Arm your self with a 38 Cal revolver! Don't stand for this crap. Depend not only on the police and neighbors,....depend on yourself. Seconds count and the police are only minutes away.
Kirkwood Resident June 02, 2013 at 12:44 AM
So lets put guns on all the people that night and see how that would work. One was a braves fan leaving the game. So that means he would have had to bring the gun with him to turner field and then after he got hit on the head from behind be able to shoot the person? How about Patrick? He and his friends would need to have guns when they went to their local pub? I would not want to go to a bar with everyone armed. I guarantee if you armed everyone who was walking around you would have more gun deaths, not less. More innocent bystanders shot, more arguments escalating to gunfire. Just imagine for a moment going to piedmont park or the grocery store and everyone had a gun. Would you feel safer?
John June 02, 2013 at 02:05 PM
Just keep walking around in fear then. Maybe the murderers will be caught, maybe not. As for your view on arming ones self, just know the stats counter everything you say. Go take a self defense class and you will have more confidence.
Barbara Baggerman June 02, 2013 at 04:42 PM
Mayor Reed recently told us that football is the most urgent critical need facing Atlanta, when he underhandedly strong-armed the City Council into voting to spend our tax money on a new football stadium. Hence, we don't have money for police (or teachers or transportation or infrastructure), because fighting crime is not as important as building state-of-the-art skyboxes to assuage the egos of rich guys. That's where our tax dollars are going. If you disagree with the mayor's priorities, BE SURE TO VOTE THIS NOVEMBER when he is up for re-election. Personally, I will be voting for anyone other than Kasim Reed, even if it means voting Republican.
Ted June 02, 2013 at 10:02 PM
Mayor Reed is a joke and a do-nothing.
Jerome Masters June 03, 2013 at 04:12 AM
Hey lets look on the bright side Kaaassssiimmm is getting us a new stadium
Rodney June 14, 2013 at 06:56 PM
kassim is a freaking joke as well as the city and people who lives in East Atlanta. Both in my book are non doers.
Sam Iam July 03, 2013 at 05:05 PM
The Atlanta police have plenty of officers. No more are needed. This is simply a matter of allocating resources. We have a problem - nationwide - with police resources being used to enforce drug laws that form no purpose other than ruining and wasting the lives of human beings. Put the cops that are currently focused on finding people who have drugs - drugs which cause less harm than what you can buy in the gas station (alcohol and nicotine), you know, the ones that kill 80,000 and 450,000 people per year but are completely legal - put them on the beat and you have your resources right there. I'm serious about this. In a hundred years, I'm sure people will look back on this time and the large amount of resources we put into the drug war - which locks Americans in cages for having substances which harm only themselves (I thought America meant freedom? If I can skydive, drive a car, drink a beer, or smoke cigarettes, I can do a line of coke or speed, or smoke a joint, all three of which are more safe than the previous four things) - and wonder why those resources weren't being used to prevent people from being robbed of their possessions, lives, and well-being.
Sam Iam July 03, 2013 at 05:10 PM
@John, the stats do not counter what Kirkwood Resident says. Sure, you are less likely to be actually robbed, but more people total will be killed if you have most people carrying guns. Have you never run into an asshole? They're everywhere, and when they have guns, it's not a good thing.
Carol Goldberg July 12, 2013 at 06:57 PM
So how much is this gang related, maybe they need fed help.
John August 04, 2013 at 11:17 AM
Sam Iam, then why has gun crime go down statistically with a exponential increase in gun ownership. If you are disarmed, you are a much better target to the bad guys. This is getting off topic, but vigils, watch groups, lighting are all fine, but these punks could care less if they see an opportunity to confront an unarmed victim.
Sam Iam August 06, 2013 at 03:08 AM
John 1) Gun crime has not gone down in Atlanta. Statistically, the number of firearm crimes has increased 5% each year over the past few years, in Atlanta. The number of shooting incidents and victims has also been on the rise. I don't claim to know the numbers on gun ownership, but if you're right about the inverse relationship between gun ownership and gun crime (which on it's face doesn't make any sense), then gun ownership must be declining. I don't think it has, but again, I don't know those numbers like I do for gun crime. See the APD's weekly crime reports or the monthly UCR reports filed with the FBI. 2) Your response doesn't address what I was talking about. In my post, I wasn't talking about gun crime, where a person uses a gun on another person for the purpose of committing a crime. If more people start carrying around guns, you're absolutely right that criminals will think twice about confronting potential victims. Criminals will see less opportunity because less people would be unarmed. What I'm saying is this: increase the number of people carrying around guns and you have people who aren't criminals getting pissed off, and guess what? Now they've got a gun. Every adult at times can have moments where they act like a child. When that adult has a gun, they have the ability to do some serious harm that they otherwise would not have been able to do. Be on the lookout for pissed off drivers, or altercations between people during the day, especially during rush hour, or at night around bars. Next time you hear two guys yelling at each other (most likely about something completely stupid), think about how that screaming match might end if one of them has a gun. You might be responsible with a gun, but I again ask you to take a look around you. More guns = more people dead.
Sam Iam August 06, 2013 at 03:21 AM
Where are the fathers of these fatherless kids getting guidance from media and their peers? They are in jail because of the drug war this country has against its own citizens. To the person writing about illegal drug use... the problem in the fact that many drugs that are illegal should not be. Cigarettes are more addicting than most illegal drugs, yet they are legal, and more importantly, people don't rob others so they can score a pack of Camels. I know it seems crazy, but it's because you've been indoctrinated, but making drugs legal will solve most of these problems. When illegal, it distracts the cops because they're focused on arresting people and putting them in cages for having substances that don't do anyone but the user any harm. They are more expensive which means an addict is more likely to steal from others to get their drugs. And it incarcerates a large percentage of the population, which for better or worse, tears apart families and leaves a lot of fatherless kids to raise themselves. Come on people, this is not hard.

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