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A grand jury issued a 37-count indictment against two alleged Bloods gang members in the death of 8-year-old Secoriea Turner, who was shot dead last year in Atlanta while driving near the Rayshard Brooks autonomous zone.
"This indictment includes charges of violating the Georgia Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act by criminally associating with the Bloods gang in three different ways," Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis announced Friday afternoon.
Julian Conley, 20, was indicted on 31 charges, including malice murder and two felony murder counts. Jerrion McKinney, 23, was charged with 16 counts for his affiliation with the Bloods and for possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.
"We claim that Conley fired when he stopped and did not respect the car’s barricade, which led to the tragic killing of Secoria Turner," Willis said at the news conference.
Both men were previously arrested in the murder of Turner and were being held without bond. Conley faces a maximum sentence of life in prison plus 580 years, and McKinney faces a maximum penalty of 290 years behind bars.
"I’ve got video evidence of other people involved. What I need is them identified," Willis added.
The zone was created after Brooks died on June 12 last year when police responded to reports of a man asleep in a Wendy’s drive-thru lane. Responding officers administered a sobriety test on Brooks, which he failed, and attempted to take him into custody. He resisted arrest and struggled with the officers to obtain a police Taser, and was seen aiming the Taser toward the officers.
Brooks was shot and died, setting off what became nights of riots in Atlanta amid ongoing riots and protests that had already swept the nation in response to George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis on Memorial Day. The warrant alleges Brooks was also a member of the gang, though his family disputes the claim.
"Prior investigation determined that Brooks was a member/associate of the Bloods criminal street gang," the Georgia Bureau of Investigation warrant reads.
"Their motive was that a member of their gang had been killed and it was an outrage to the loss of that life," Willis added on Friday, speaking to the motivation behind the autonomous zone.
Turner’s death occurred on July 4 after her mother and an adult friend drove down the road near the autonomous zone. The driver of the car was stopped by the armed rioters who took over the area, and eventually allegedly shot at the car and fatally struck Turner.
Turner’s family is currently suing the city of Atlanta, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Atlanta police chief Rodney Bryant, Atlanta Councilmember Joyce Sheperd and Wendy's International.
The family alleges city leaders were "negligent in their duties by failing to remove armed vigilantes who had gathered alongside peaceful protesters at the Wendy’s where Rayshard Brooks was shot and killed."
"None of what we are doing will bring our baby back. We shouldn't be here. We deserve justice" Turner's mother Charmaine Turner added.
Two weeks before Turner's death, Bottoms acknowledged the armed autonomous zone and said, "The City removed obstructions from the property and right of way. We will continue to monitor the situation as we work with the appropriate stakeholders to maintain peace and order in the community."
But the armed rioters returned sometime after June 23, and the mayor reportedly held police back from clearing the autonomous zone quickly, after Sheperd said she was negotiating with the rioters.
"Neither the Administration nor APD had prior knowledge of alleged gang affiliation. It would be inappropriate to comment further as this is an ongoing investigation and legal matter," a spokesperson for the mayor told Fox News when asked when she was briefed on gang ties to the zone.
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