Councilman Shook criticizes Mayor Bottoms after 7-year-old shot in Atlanta

Atlanta’s homicide count is the highest it’s been in more than two decades

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Tensions between Councilman Howard Shook and Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms rise stemming from the shooting of a 7-year-old girl outside of an Atlanta mall on Monday evening.

According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Shook issued a public statement on Tuesday in response to the shooting of Kennedy Maxie, who was struck by a stray bullet while Christmas shopping with her family at Phipps Plaza in Buckhead. Maxie remains in critical condition.

“Last night, a dispute between two parties resulted in the shooting of an innocent 7-year-old girl. We pray for her and her family. I lack the words to adequately convey the despair and anger so many of us feel about this latest and most painful example of the utter lawlessness that defines what it means to live in Atlanta,” Shook explained in the statement.

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He then turned his criticism towards the current administration, saying, “I don’t want to hear the word ‘uptick.’ Stop minimizing our concerns by telling us that ‘crime is up everywhere.’ Spare us from the lie that the steady outflow of our officers isn’t as bad as it is. And please, not another throw-away press conference utterly devoid of game-changing action steps.”

He outlined three ways to address the violence in the city of Atlanta that further expressed his scathing disapproval.

“It will take a lot to turn this around. But here, in descending order, are the three things we need to begin:

1). Leadership;

2). Some leadership;

3). Any leadership.”

Shook, who is serving his fifth term, serves as a member of District 7 that represents a large portion of Buckhead.

Bottoms submitted a statement to the publication in response to the criticism without mentioning Shook.

“If there are solutions that we have not explored and enacted, I welcome the suggestions, as I am always open to making the city that I am raising my children in a safer place for us all,” she said.

Photo: Getty Images / Atlanta City Council

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In an interview with WSB-TV 2 Atlanta, City Councilman J.P. Matzigkeit said the current level of policing isn’t enough to tackle and is pushing to create a privately funded security force to work alongside the Atlanta Police Department.

“I don’t think that we’re doing effective policing right now because I don’t think we’re putting enough resources and attention to it like we are with the police reform work that we’re doing. We have to do both,” Matzigkeit said.

City Council President Felicia Moore spoke to Shook, who informed her about the statement, and addressed his growing frustrations.

“He’s had some issues with the crime previously, and it’s just kind of built up, I believe, to a young, innocent child getting shot in the back of the head just driving down the street,” Moore said. “I think everyone wants something to happen, they want to see action…and I believe that his statement was just his way of expressing his frustration.”

In October, Bottoms acknowledged the recent increase of violent crimes in Atlanta – that reached 116 homicides at that time – and the efforts to help to decrease it.

“We recognize that this is a problem. Right now, our eye is on crime in Atlanta,” Bottoms said.

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Atlanta Police reported that young Kennedy was riding in the car with her family when the shooting occurred. Kennedy’s godmother, Cassandra Wood, and members of the community started a GoFundMe to help support the family while Kennedy remains in critical condition at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

APD has announced a reward of up to $15,000 for any information on the shooter’s identity. Atlanta’s homicide count is the highest it’s been in more than two decades, per AJC.

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