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Child’s Murder Reveals Atlanta’s ‘Autonomous Zone’ Was Actually Bloods Street Gang Retaliating For Police Shooting Of Gang Member

Atlanta, GA – Police have charged a second man with the murder of an eight-year-old girl in Atlanta’s “autonomous zone” during the Rayshard Brooks protests last summer and charging documents revealed that the gunman and Brooks were both affiliated with the Bloods street gang.

Eight-year old Secoriea Turner was killed just before 10 p.m. on July 4, 2020 near the 1200-block of Pryor Road, WAGA reported.

Police said that the little girl was in the car with her mother and their friend Omar Ivey when they got off the freeway onto University Avenue by the Wendy’s where Brooks was killed.

Ivey told police he tried to enter the parking lot of a package store but was confronted by a group of armed “protesters,” WAGA reported.

Authorities said violent protesters had been setting up illegal barricades around the Wendy’s.

At least two men opened fire on the vehicle and Secoriea was fatally shot, WAGA reported.

They headed straight for the hospital with the wounded child in the car and were met by police when they arrived.

Secoriea was rushed into the emergency room for treatment but died at the hospital, WAGA reported.

Authorities said they knew about the barricades about 30 minutes before the little girl was shot and Atlanta police had planned to go deal with them but got swamped by other more pressing 911 calls.

Residents had been complaining about armed activists taking over the area for weeks with illegal roadblocks.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s (GBI) arrest warrant for the gunman – 23-year-old Jerrion McKinney – described the chaotic scene that was underway where members of the Bloods street gang had set up a barricade near the intersection of Pryor Road and University Avenue, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Members of the Bloods had seized the area by “brandishing, pointing and discharging of firearms at citizens and civilians to ensure compliance with their authority in a highly visible manner,” according to the warrant.

The arrest affidavit said the Bloods gang had established a cop-free “autonomous zone” around the Wendy’s parking lot where Brooks had been fatally shot by police, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

“Prior investigation determined that Brooks was a member/associate of the Bloods criminal street gang,” the GBI warrant read.

Brooks was shot on June 12, 2020 after officers responded to a late-night call for a man asleep in the Wendy’s drive-thru.

Officers administered a field sobriety test and established probable cause to arrest Brooks, but when they went to put the suspect in handcuffs, the previously-calm man attacked them.

Brooks stole Atlanta Police Officer Devin Brosnan’s Taser, tased the officer, and then fled with the weapon in hand.

Atlanta Police Officer Garrett Rolfe pursued Brooks on foot with his own Taser in hand, until Brooks turned back and fired his Taser at Officer Rolfe.

That’s when Officer Rolfe dropped his Taser, drew his pistol, and fatally shot Brooks.

Anti-police protests began around the Wendy’s almost immediately after the incident.

Charging documents for McKinney said the barricade around the area was set up by the Bloods street gang, whose members blocked police from entering the area, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

The arrest warrant said that McKinney and 19-year-old Julian Conley were helping man the barricade when the Jeep with Secoriea and her mother approached and tried to go around.

The arrest affidavit said Conley “began to discharge his weapon, an AR-15 style rifle, striking the side and the back of the vehicle,” the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Secoriea was shot in the head.

Charging documents said McKinney chased the Jeep down the road until it left the area, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Conley was arrested less than two weeks after Secoriea was killed, but McKinney wasn’t arrested for his role in the little girl’s murder until one year and one month later.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Aug. 5 that additional arrests in connection with the eight-year-old’s death were expected.

Willis said indictments would likely be handed down within the next 10 days.

GBI joined the investigation into Secoriea’s murder just two months ago at the invitation of the district attorney, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

“They took the time and did the work,” Willis said. “Sometimes you know you need expertise. We were seeing things in the files that indicated to us that there was probably gang elements here and we thought it needed a deeper dive. [The GBI] has the gang task force and it just made sense to ask.”

Online jail records showed that McKinney spent almost eight months in the Fulton County Jail on another aggravated assault charge stemming from an incident that occurred the day Turner was killed after he was arrested in October of 2020, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported

He was released on June 17 on a $45,000 bond.

On Aug. 4, McKinney was arrested and charged with murder, four counts of aggravated assault, pointing a gun or pistol at another, and 12 gang-related offenses, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Lawyers for Brooks’ family have said they had “no knowledge or information regarding any alleged gang affiliation of Rayshard Brooks.”

On June 7, attorneys for the family announced the lawsuit had been filed against city of Atlanta, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant, Atlanta City Councilmember Joyce Sheperd, and Wendy’s International, WAGA reported.

Attorneys for the family of Secoriea Turner alleged in their complaint that the city had been negligent when they failed to remove armed protesters who had taken over the area after Brooks’ shooting.

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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Written by Sandy Malone

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