Georgia Governor Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency Monday and called in 1,000 National Guard troops to protect state buildings in Atlanta following a violent weekend that left 31 wounded and 5 killed, including an 8-year-old black girl named Secoriea Turner.
“Peaceful protests were hijacked by criminals with a dangerous, destructive agenda. Now, innocent Georgians are being targeted, shot, and left for dead,” said Kemp. “This lawlessness must be stopped and order restored in our capital city.”
Secoriea was shot and killed by protestors when her mother drove through an illegal barricade that had been erected near the site of Rayshard Brooks’s death.
Rayshard was shot and killed by police in June after he was found asleep in his car near a Wendy’s. The restaurant was later burned to the ground and the site became a popular spot for demonstrations against police brutality.
“At that location, city officials have failed to quell ongoing violence with armed individuals threatening citizens, shooting at passersby, blocking streets, destroying local businesses, and defying orders to disperse,” wrote Kemp.
A 53-year-old man was shot and killed at the same location less than 24 hours after Secoriea’s death.
“Enough is enough,” said Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms during a news conference. “If you want people to take us seriously and you don’t want us to lose this movement, we can’t lose each other…You shot and killed a baby.”
“We understand the frustration of Rayshard Brooks, we understand,” added Secoriea’s father. “We ain’t got nothing to do with that, we innocent…They say Black lives matter. You killed your own. You killed your own this time.”
Unfortunately Secoriea was not the only child killed during the Fourth of July weekend. Reports confirm at least 5 other kids between the ages of 6 and 14 were shot and killed, some while watching fireworks.
In Chicago, 14 people were shot and killed and 63 were wounded over the weekend; In New York City, 9 were killed and more than 40 injured. Shootings in the Big Apple are up by more than 150% compared to the same time last year and have doubled every week for the past three weeks.
Speaking about the violence in New York, President Trump criticized Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo and reminded state officials that the federal government is “ready, willing, and able to help – if asked.”