Atlanta police say a Virginia man is the person responsible for the shooting death of 7-year-old Kennedy Maxie near a shopping center in Buckhead on Dec. 21.
The department on Tuesday announced it had secured an arrest warrant for the suspect, 24-year-old Daquan Reed.
The lead detective in the case says Reed was involved in an argument in the parking lot of the shopping center and as he drove away, fired a shot in a “senseless act of rage.” That bullet hit the car in which Maxie was riding, according to police.
Police say Reed is a convicted felon, who is now wanted on several charges in connection with Maxie’s death, including felony murder. Police say they don’t know why the suspect was in Atlanta or if he has connections here.
“We will not allow people to come into our city and victimize our citizens, that’s not who we are,” said interim Atlanta police chief Rodney Bryant. “But if you choose to come into Atlanta and violate the law, understand, we will come after you.”
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms spoke at the press conference at Atlanta police headquarters, noting that Maxie was not the first child to die of gun violence in Atlanta this year. Bottoms grew emotional as she spoke about a conversation with Maxie’s family. The child died of her injuries the day after Christmas.
“I know what I’m responsible for in this city and I take it very seriously, and I take it personally,” said Bottoms.
Bottoms announced several initiatives that the city was taking in an attempt to quell violence, including cracking down on night clubs that ignore capacity limits and operating hours. She says Fulton County will start deploying more sheriff’s deputies on the streets at “peak times to help focus on crime suppression.” She said the introduction of a Top 10 most wanted listed has resulted in three arrests since its inception this year.
“If there are resources that they don’t have, we’ll move mountains to make sure they have what they need,” said Bottoms. “We are working to address the systemic issues that are leading us to this point. It’s not going to be an easy fix.”
Bottoms says they are working to develop a new public safety training academy as well as recruiting and retention of officers.
“Morale at the Atlanta Police Department we know has suffered. We know that it is suffering across the country,” said Bottoms. “Being a police officer is a difficult job on a good day. You add the challenges we’ve seen over the past several months and it makes it that much more challenging.”