To my fellow Atlantans:
Yesterday, we experienced a mass shooting in the heart of Atlanta. My prayers are with the victims of this shooting and their families.
I am thankful to the women and men of the Atlanta Police Department who worked hand in hand with our partner law enforcement agencies, using all resources at our disposal — including our extensive camera network and our Phoenix Air Unit — to protect our communities while tracking down this gunman. We owe our special thanks to the Cobb County Police Department who apprehended the suspect last night.
I am thankful to the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department and Grady who bravely responded to an active shooter situation to save lives. And I am thankful to community members who kept their calm as this situation developed throughout the day.
This suspect was arrested and will stand trial for his crimes. There will be justice in this case. But that doesn’t change the fact that one woman died, and four others were seriously injured. It doesn’t change the fact that our city experienced a collective trauma. Families are grieving today, and our community is on edge. We will soon all be made aware of how we can appropriately show our love to these families and come together as a community in solidarity.
This is an ongoing investigation, and we will learn more in the coming days about the circumstances of this shooting. But one thing we already know is that an incident like this is tragically too common in America. In 2023 alone, there have been nearly 200 reported mass shootings in our country. And this is far from the first time that Atlanta has experienced this anguish.
We are doing all that we can as a city to bring down violent crime. We are investing in our police and fire personnel and making sure they have the equipment and training they need. And we are investing in non-policing activities, like violence interruption and youth engagement, that enhance safety in our community and address the root causes of crime. Those investments are working. Violent crime in Atlanta is significantly down over this time last year.
But we need to do more. We need national action to change the way we treat mental health. And we need action that keeps guns out of the hands of people who should not have them.
We cannot accept mass shootings as normal in our country. We know it does not have to be this way. Other nations have challenges with mental health, but they don’t have this level of gun violence that we do in America.
It’s the guns.
While we respect the rights conveyed by the 2nd Amendment, we also need more actions to protect the rights of our citizens to go about their lives — to go to a doctor’s office, a supermarket, a gas station, their school — without the threat of being gunned down.
This is a moment for healing as a community. But it is also a moment that calls us to action. Atlanta is a group project. Just as we came together yesterday to respond to this shooting, we must now come together with resolve to each do our parts to stop these horrific events from happening again, whether here in Atlanta or anywhere in our country.
Mayor Andre Dickens