7-year-old girl shot in Atlanta after Christmas shopping dies
ATLANTA (AP) - A 7-year-old girl who was shot in the head by a stray bullet after Christmas shopping with her family in Atlanta has died, marking another fatality in a city suffering from a spike in gun violence.
Kennedy Maxie succumbed to her injuries Saturday night, the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office told news outlets Sunday. The young girl had been in critical condition since she was struck while riding in a car Dec. 21 near the popular Phipps Plaza mall in the city’s Buckhead neighborhood.
Several men in a nearby parking lot had gotten into a fight that led to gunfire. Police have been examining surveillance footage from the scene in an attempt to identify a suspect, but no arrests have been made.
In a statement to news outlets, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said police have “significant leads” in the investigation, and urged the public to provide information “that will lead to the arrests of the careless and heartless people responsible for Kennedy’s death.”
“Our hearts are broken by the senseless murder of Kennedy,” Bottoms said. “While the Atlanta Police Department has significant leads in the apprehension of those responsible, it does not erase the pain felt when a beautiful, vibrant, and loving child is tragically taken from her family.”
Kennedy’s death comes as city officials grapple with a spike in slayings across Atlanta. There have been 155 homicides in the city this year, making it the deadliest year Atlanta has had in more than two decades.
Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution the city council has “done the best they can on the policy side” to stem the violence and pointed at police, saying they need to have more presence on the streets.
Another member of the city council, Howard Shook, recently took aim at Bottoms’ administration for the rise in crime.
“I don’t want to hear the word ‘uptick.’ Stop minimizing our concerns by telling us that ‘crime is up everywhere,’” he said in a statement last week. He did not mention the mayor or the city’s Interim Police Chief Rodney Bryant, but the pair have used similar language in the past.
“Spare us from the lie that the steady outflow of our officers isn’t as bad as it is,” Shook’s statement said. “And please, not another throw-away press conference utterly devoid of game-changing action steps.”
In response to those comments, Bottom said highlighting the rise in violence across the U.S. is “not an abdication of responsibility, but an acknowledgement of the widespread severity of this issue.”
“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.
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