Gov. Brian Kemp (R) has declared a state of emergency and authorized up to 1,000 National Guard troops in the Peach state to deploy to Atlanta following civil unrest in the Democrat-controlled city.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports:
The National Guard troops will be dispatched to three locations in the city: The state Capitol, which has been the focus of protests over statues of segregationists and Civil War leaders; the Governor’s Mansion in Buckhead; and the recently-vandalized Department of Public Safety building in southeast Atlanta.
The mayor did not immediately address Kemp’s decision but issued her own plea to residents to end the violence. At least 93 people were shot in Atlanta between May 31 – roughly when the George Floyd protests began – and June 27. That’s roughly double the number from the same span a year ago.
“Peaceful protests were hijacked by criminals with a dangerous, destructive agenda. Now, innocent Georgians are being targeted, shot, and left for dead,” Kemp said in a statement. “This lawlessness must be stopped and order restored in our capital city.”
The development comes after five people were killed, including an 8-year-old girl, during bursts of violence over the weekend in Atlanta.
Saturday night’s fatal shooting of Secoriea Turner, 8, prompted a $10,000 reward for information as authorities searched for at least two people who opened fire on the car she was riding in near a flashpoint of recent protests.
Officers returned to the scene late Sunday to investigate another shooting, steps away from where Secoriea was shot, that left one person dead at the scene and two others injured.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms called for justice in Secoriea’s death during an emotional news conference Sunday with the girl’s grief-stricken mother.
“You can’t blame this on a police officer,” the mayor said. “You can’t say this about criminal justice reform. This is about some people carrying some weapons who shot up a car with an 8-year-old baby in the car for what?”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.