Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency Monday and authorized the deployment of up to 1,000 National Guard troops in the wake of violence in Atlanta over the weekend that left more than 30 people wounded and five dead, including an 8-year-old girl.
Eight-year-old Secoriea Turner was murdered when two men opened fire on the car she was riding in with her mother. It was driven by her mother's male friend. The driver maneuvered around illegal barriers near an occupied protester camp across from the burned out Wendy's restaurant where DUI suspect Rayshard Brooks was killed by an Atlanta officer. He was reportedly trying to pull into a parking lot when the two men started shooting.
“Peaceful protests were hijacked by criminals with a dangerous, destructive agenda,” Kemp said in a statement. “Now, innocent Georgians are being targeted, shot and left for dead. This lawlessness must be stopped and order restored in our capital city.”
He said, “The measure will allow troops to protect state property and dispatch state law enforcement officers to patrol our streets.”
Among the locations where the Georgia Guard will provide protection are the state Capitol building, the Department of Public Safety headquarters and the Governor's Mansion, USA Today reports.
The Georgia Department of Public Safety headquarters building in Atlanta was attacked by protesters early Sunday. Two of the agency's employees were injured in the attack.
Authorities say up to 100 people attacked the facility, breaking several windows, spray painting graffiti, and throwing fireworks inside. The fireworks caused a small fire that injured the two employees.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms does not agree with the decision to send in the Guard, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. She told Good Morning America:
“No. An irony of that is that I asked Governor Kemp to allow us to mandate masks in Atlanta and he said no. But he has called in the National Guard without asking if we needed the National Guard.
“So, I understand if he wants to protect state buildings. We have been coordinating with the Georgia State Patrol -- which we do on any number of occasions. Law enforcement agencies coordinate, and we provide assistance to them, they provide assistance to us.
“But at no time was it mentioned that anyone felt that there was the need for the National Guard to come in.”