The father of Secoriea Turner, the 8-year-old Atlanta girl who was shot and killed as she sat inside a car near the Wendy’s parking lot where Rayshard Brooks died, called out her killers in an emotional news conferencing, saying, “you killed your own.”
“They say Black Lives Matter,” the girl’s father, Secoriya Williamson, said in the news conference. “You killed your own. You killed your own this time just because of a barrier. They killed my baby because she crossed a barrier and made a U turn. You killed a child. She didn’t do nothing to nobody. You killed an 8-year-old child. She didn’t do anything to any one of you all. She just wanted to get home to see her cousins. That’s all she wanted to do.”
Watch the video here:
The mayor was also at the press conference, and she broadened the discussion beyond police to a need to “reform our own community,” in her words.
“I want to see the same anger and outrage,” Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said in a press conference. Bottoms has been mentioned repeatedly as a possible vice presidential choice for Democrat Joe Biden. “I want to see it on behalf of Secoriea, and all of the other children who are getting shot in our streets. There’s a lot of change that has to happen across this country, and police reform is a big part of it, but we also have to reform our own community. An 8-year-old girl was killed last night because her mother was riding down the street.”
The suspects are at large, and their identities are not yet publicly known.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Mayor Declared ‘Enough Is Enough,’Saying That ‘These Aren’t Police Officers Shooting People on the Streets of Atlanta’
Bottoms and Interim Chief Rodney Bryant gave a press conference to speak about the 8-year-old child, who was murdered over the July 4 holiday weekend. The child’s distraught mother sat in a chair during the press conference alongside her father.
“The last few press conferences I have given have been regarding challenges that we have had with interactions with our police officers and with our community. The last being the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks,” the mayor began after Turner died. “Secoriea Turner was shot and killed last night. That was not by the hands of a police officer. By the hands of a coward. Cowards. Who are still out and about in our community. This happened at University and Pryor near the Wendy’s where Rayshard Brooks was killed a few weeks ago.”
Brooks was shot and killed by an Atlanta police officer after struggling with officers and disarming one of a taser that he then fired, according to authorities. The officer has been charged with murder.
The mayor continued that the community “talked a lot about what we are demanding from our officers and our community. We’ve protested. We’ve demonstrated. We’ve been angry, cried; we’ve demanded action. Now, we’re demanding action for Secoriea Turner. And for all of the other people who were shot in Atlanta last night and over the past few weeks because the reality is this, these aren’t police officers shooting people on the streets of Atlanta. These are members of the community shooting at each other, and this is the worst possible outcome.”
She said there were also two other people shot and killed the night before in Atlanta and declared, “enough is enough.”
“We have talked about this movement happening across America,” she said, adding that the Civil Rights Movement operated against a “defined common enemy.”
“We’re finding the enemy within when we are shooting each other up on our streets, and shot and killed a baby,” she said. “There were at least two shooters…and if you want people to take us seriously, and you don’t want us to lose this movement, then we can’t lose each other in this, and there are peaceful demonstrators across this city and country, and I applaud them and thank them for being peaceful and for honoring the lives of so many people who have been killed in America because of injustice.” But, she said, “this wild wild west shoot ’em up because you can – it’s got to stop.”
Bottoms continued: “You can’t blame this on a police officer. You can’t say this is about criminal justice reform. This is about people carrying weapons who shot up a car with an 8 year old baby in the car. For what. It’s simple. We’ve got to stop this. We are doing each other more harm than any police officer on this force. We’ve had over 75 shootings in this city over the past several weeks. You can’t blame that on APD. So I am just asking to please honor this baby’s life. Please if you know who did this, please turn them in. These people are a danger to all of us.”
Armed People Confronted the Car Carrying the Child as It Was Trying to Turn Into a Parking Lot
The preliminary investigation indicates the child was riding in a vehicle with her mother and adult friend when they exited the Interstate to University Avenue, the interim police chief said in the news conference. They were riding on I-75/85 and exited onto University Avenue.
The car carrying the girl was attempting to enter the parking lot when the driver was confronted by a group of armed individuals who had blocked the entrance. Someone opened fire multiple times, striking the child. The driver drove to the medical center for help. Investigators are working to determine the circumstances around the shooting. Bryant called it a “senseless act of violence… an innocent child lost her life and this can not be tolerated in the city of Atlanta.”
He said: “We have to do a better job as a community, as a police department.” He ensured the mother that police would work “diligently to bring these perpetrators to justice.”
On the same night, people tried to burn down the Georgia State Patrol building and the 911 system was flooded, Bottoms said. She said there was no mass police sickout that night, but resources get stretched thin when so much is happening at once. “There was a time to go, and there is a time to pull back,” she said of protests that start to go south and turn into riots or other problematic behavior, urging people to not participate when they do so.
The child’s distraught mother, Charmaine Turner, took the microphone during the press conference but broke down emotionally shortly thereafter.
“She was only 8 years old… She would have been on TikTok dancing, in her phone. Just got finished eating. We understand the frustration of Rayshard Brooks. We understand. We don’t have anything to do with it. We’re innocent. We didn’t mean no harm. My baby didn’t mean any harm. Somebody knows something,” she said.
Another family member pleaded with the public to call CrimeStoppers or Atlanta homicide. “We are pleading with you to come forward with this,” she said. “Please, we beg you. Please. Please. Let’s bring this to justice.” She called Secoriea her 8 year old beautiful niece who “got taken away, over nothing.”
The protesters who have been at the Wendy’s memorial for Brooks said in a recorded video that their team of community members, neighbors, and activists extended their “deepest condolences and sympathy” to the family and friends of Turner. They go by the name “RB Memorial Sleep-In Activists.”
“We too mourn the loss of the young life,” said the group’s spokesperson, Lady A. Lady A said they were standing with the family. According to Lady A, “no one from our group was involved in any way in the shooting,” and it didn’t take place at the site of the memorial. Lady A said they have cooperated with the local authorities investigating the shooting, which occurred “near” the memorial site. The spokesperson unequivocally denounced any “biased media that connects us to this killing.” They are calling for a peace center at the Wendy’s location.