Atlanta, Ga. — Community members had gathered at the Wendy's where Rayshard Brooks had been killed by Atlanta police on Friday to commemorate Juneteenth, a holiday that recognizes the emancipation of slaves in the United States. It was a festive atmosphere with fireworks being set off and families bringing grills to have cookouts.
It was as if the Fourth of July arrived early in the neighborhood, but the locals were all there to show their support and solidarity with Brooks. As I previously reported, many locals view Brooks as another victim of police brutality, despite video evidence showing him attacking the officers and attempting to use the taser he stole from them.
People are partying by the Wendy’s and setting off firecrackers/fireworks. pic.twitter.com/fp0Y1TRLtC— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) June 20, 2020
All that changed as the evening turned into night and a slew of gunfire rang out. At least one person, who was not shooting, was hit in the leg. When officers arrived on the scene, the situation did not escalate, as many still did not want the police there.
On Saturday, the mood was very different than the day before. There were fewer people, specifically, families with young children, and there was tension in the air. The rumor spreading around by those on the scene said it was white people who drove by and started shooting.
Police and the fire department were still by the Wendy's late Saturday afternoon. A confrontation started after an officer moved a makeshift barricade to allow their vehicles to leave the area. One person in the crowd attempted to smash the police SUV with a large concrete block but was stopped by others. Another person placed himself on a nearby hill with a rifle.
Things became tense as an officer moved some of the makeshift barricades to allow the fire department to leave. Some in the crowd got upset and started to move it back into place. One person tried to smash the cop car and another placed himself up on the hill with a rifle. pic.twitter.com/iEMkB4VUIX— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) June 20, 2020
When it became dark, some wondered if another shooting was going to happen. Around 10:20 p.m., someone fired their gun, sending people fleeing and hiding behind cover. Once it was over, some in the crowd became upset as they wanted the violence to stop.
As they were trying to figure out who started shooting, a man who was filming in the Wendy's parking lot was attacked by people because they did not want witnesses recording what was happening. The man was mobbed and pushed out, but not before a few people punched him the head.
BREAKING: Gunshots break out at the burned down Wendy’s in Atlanta for a second night in a row. People ran for cover. I’m good. pic.twitter.com/QJa7ugYOUO— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) June 21, 2020
A man was attacked by some of the crowd because I BELIEVE he was filming in the area after the gunshots. A few people punched him and others were shouting at him to delete the video. pic.twitter.com/EBBWaaT85A— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) June 21, 2020
What was once an area for partying and speaking out against police brutality has turned into a place where it is not advisable to be during the nighttime. More people with guns showed up on Sunday, placing armed "guards" at their makeshift barricades.