3 shot dead as Atlanta surpasses 100 murders this year

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Police found three people shot dead early Sunday outside a nightclub in Atlanta, which over the weekend topped 100 murders this year.

The three men, aged 35 to 45, were killed at around 12:30 a.m. on Sunday in a parking lot used by several businesses, including a nightclub that was open at the time, Atlanta police told news organizations.

Lt. Daniel Genson, the Atlanta Police Department’s homicide commander, did not identify the victims and gave few details about the shooting or what led to it. All the violence happened outside in the parking lot, he said.

“Currently, we are in the preliminary stages of the investigation to identify witnesses and what other evidence is available,” Genson told reporters.

Hours before the triple shooting, a man died in an Atlanta hospital after being found with a gunshot wound in a car on Saturday afternoon. Police said this person was the 100th homicide victim in Atlanta since Jan. 1.

Police did not announce any arrests in any of the shooting incidents.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and other Republicans have picked up on rising crime in Atlanta and other cities as a major problem heading into next year’s election. They are trying to persuade voters that Democrats cannot be trusted to fight crime.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, a Democrat, last month released a $ 70 million plan to tackle crime and violence in the city, which includes hiring an additional 250 police officers and installing 10,000 street lights in an area with a history of violent crime.

Meanwhile, prosecutors in some of Georgia’s largest counties have started a new group to share ideas on tackling growing crime. Members of the Urban District Attorney Coalition include senior prosecutors from Fulton and DeKalb counties, which share Atlanta, as well as judicial circuits that include Macon and Columbus.

Atlanta Police investigated 157 homicides in 2020, the highest number of murders in the city in more than two decades, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. For comparison, the department documented 99 homicides in 2019.

In June, Atlanta police reported an almost 60% increase in homicide cases compared to the same time last year. In 2020, police reported the city’s 100th homicide on October 1.

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