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Gunfire erupts at celebration

Gunshots were reported Saturday night at McNoble Harper Park in the 600 block of Melrose Street in Atlanta where more than 2,500 people congregated to celebrate Juneteenth.

Atlanta Police Chief Robin Betts issued a press release Monday morning in which he says, “At approximately 10:45 p.m. multiple gunshots were fired from inside the park resulting in numerous injuries.”

Captain Dennis Quinn of the reserves worked the scene Saturday night and described the incident on his Facebook page—noting that only one person sustained a gunshot wound which confirmed multiple eyewitness accounts.

“Yes there was a shooting, the girl is at LSU in Shreveport. Not hate related, innocent bystander. We had around 3000 people at the Day in the A. Had one have a seizure during shooting and one that was trampled when shooting started”, Quinn wrote.

Betts confirmed Quinn’s account and told the Journal-Sun, “We focused on triaging the entire incident after gunshots for severity of injuries. I made contact with 15 plus people that were trampled when everyone took off running.”

Betts would not confirm reporting by another news outlet that no arrests have been made in connection with the incident.

A Juneteenth celebration and memorial, “A Day in the A” is an annual fundraising event in its fourth year.

Event organizer Chirs Barfield was saddened by the incident, relating the experience to the loss of his nephew in 2017 by random bullet. The celebration also serves as a memorial for his nephew and niece.

“It’s a great event. I hate that someone was struck by a random bullet. I lost a nephew to a random bullet, so I know."

Event organizers received donations from across the Ark-La-Tex including funds used to purchase bicycles, backpacks and other supplies for children in the community.

“We gave away 27 bicycles and 60 backpacks", Barfield said.

Barfield remains hopeful that the good outweighs the bad and is researching ways to strengthen security and safety for next year’s event.

The incident is under investigation by Atlanta Police and the Texas Rangers. Anyone with information about the incident or photos are encouraged to contact the Atlanta Police Department at (903) 796-7973.

This story is ongoing.

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