ATLANTA — Police say they will assign extra patrols to an east Atlanta neighborhood after a string of violent crime there and in the nearby Grant Park area.
Residents of East Atlanta Village say the show of force is long overdue.
Investigators believe the crimes are connected to the same suspects, Atlanta Police Chief George Turner told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
In one case, 33-year-old video game engineer Patrick Cotrona was shot to death Saturday night near Flat Shoals and May avenues while walking from his home to a local pub.
Police are focusing on at least four other incidents — each involving two male suspects — dating back to May 17, when Grant Park resident Saman Balkhanian was shot in the head and robbed while walking home from an Atlanta Braves game.
Monday night, Cotrona’s older sister erected a memorial in his honor with a cardboard sign that read “His name was Patrick Cotrona,” WXIA-TV reported. The sign went on to say he enjoyed video games, beer, attended Georgia Tech and owned a home in East Atlanta.
Kate Cotrona Krumm said she put the sign up to show that her brother was more than just a statistic.
“This is anyone,” she said. “This is you. This is a person just going out with his friends to get a drink at the bar.”
Residents who live near East Atlanta Village are warning others to be on guard in the neighborhood.
“They’re armed and dangerous and folks that are walking back from the village need to be very, very careful about walking around in this neighborhood,” homeowner Warren Street told WXIA.
He says the violence is one reason why he and his wife are moving elsewhere with their three young boys.
Neighbors say the lighting in the area doesn’t help. The area of the most recent robbery has two lights overhead, but neither one works. Neighbors say they haven’t for weeks.
“You feel less safe when you’re walking back and it’s completely dark,” said homeowner Rob Downs.