Georgia’s governor declared a state of emergency on Monday and authorized the activation of 1,000 Georgia National Guard troops following weeks of increased violence.
The July Fourth weekend saw over 30 Georgians wounded by gunfire, including five confirmed dead, according to a statement released by Governor Brian Kemp. One of the victims, Secoriea Turner, was only eight years old.
The fatal shooting of 27-year-old African-American Rayshard Brooks by police last month has tipped Georgia into unrest that is believed to have led to the shooting of Secoriea.
Police say the girl was in a car with her mother and another adult when the driver attempted to drive through illegally placed barricades to get to a parking space near the scene of Brooks’ death. Armed bystanders blocking the vehicle opened fire on the passengers, killing Turner. “She was only eight years old,” her mother said. “We understand the frustration of Rayshard Brooks. We didn’t have anything to do with that. We’re innocent. My baby didn’t mean no harm.”
— WSB-TV (@wsbtv) July 5, 2020
Following Secoriea’s death, police returned to the scene Sunday to investigate another shooting that left one person dead and two others injured.
The Atlanta area where Brooks and Secoriea were shot has become a ground for Black Lives Matter protests an demonstrations against police brutality.
The repercussions have prompted Atlanta Major Keisha Bottoms to address Georgia’s open-carry law and armed protesting.
“These aren’t police officers shooting people on the streets of Atlanta,” Bottoms said during a press conference on Monday. “These are members of the community shooting each other. In this case, it is the worst possible outcome. Enough is enough.”
Governor Kemp’s call to the Georgia Guard will allow troops to protect state property and dispatch state law enforcement officers to patrol streets in the attempt to ease tension in Atlanta.