Two teens shot after party for Midtown grad


Daniel Ratner

Two students were shot on Saturday outside of a party attended by Midtown students.

Two teenagers were shot outside a party attended by Midtown students Saturday night in Morningside, sending students running in panic and creating shockwaves through the community.

“You hear about stuff like this happening on the news, but you never think it’s going to be right outside your kitchen window,” said Madeline Moye, a Midtown Class of 2022 graduate, who lives across the street from where the incident occurred.

The party, held to celebrate a former student’s birthday and departure for college, was wrapping up around 11:30 p.m. when a fight, of which Midtown students weren’t involved, broke out on the street as guests were leaving the party’s residence.

According to the Atlanta Police Department, upon arrival, officers located two teenage males with gunshot wounds to their arms. Both males were transported to the hospital alert, conscious and breathing and are now recovering. Investigators with the Aggravated Assault unit were notified and will work to determine the circumstances surrounding the shooting, according to an APD statement. Police are not revealing the identities of the victims as they are minors.

APD did not provide comment concerning whether a suspect has been identified.

“I noticed the fighting when I was walking out of the house after the girl hosting told everyone to start wrapping up,” said North Atlanta student Darius Malcolm, who is a friend of one of the victims. “Everybody’s screaming, but it just seemed like a normal fight. Then, I hear a gunshot. Everybody ran out into the street, and then boom, another shot; so, I just ran. And then [one of the victims] calls me and is like, ‘Bro, hey, I got hit. I got hit.’”

Malcolm called one of the victims’ parents and then 911.

“I was just trying to make sure he was good and everything because I really didn’t know what to do,” Malcolm said. “I was terrified, and it was like something out of a movie.”

Midtown Class of 2021 graduate Abby Edlein heard the gunshots and thought the sound was from balloons popping.

“I was in the backyard, and we were like, ‘oh, they’re popping balloons again,’ but, then [a friend] came running in, and me and [my brother] immediately ran over there,” Edlein said. “I took my shirt off, and we tied it around [a victim’s] wound and applied pressure. I helped him to the ground, and I just sat with him until paramedics arrived.”

Edlein has been involved with March for Our Lives, a national organization aiming to prevent gun violence, since her early high school years. She founded Midtown’s March for Our Lives Club the summer before her junior year.

“It was weird because while I have been involved with gun violence prevention work and stuff for a while, I haven’t actually ever been at the scene of something as it unfolded,” Edlein said. “I realized I’ve heard about it so much and talked about it with other people so much, but when you’re actually in the moment, you just want to make sure everyone around you is safe. A lot of people were having different reactions.”

Senior Carlo Weber brought water for one of the victims after realizing he was hurt.

“I felt calm, and I didn’t really feel in danger because the shooter had already left,” Weber said.

The incident took place outside on the street and Edlein said she thinks it was unrelated to the party.

“Even though we were in a very nice neighborhood and with people who were not trying to cause any problems, gun violence is such a prevalent issue in this country and in this city, namely, that you’re never ever ever safe from it,” Edlein said. “That was a slap in the face, for sure.”

Moye called the shootings a “total wake-up call.”

“I went out on my balcony, and everyone was in a panic,” Moye said. “People were running up and down the street and all the neighbors were really scared watching everything play out.”

Senior Jack Huray witnessed the shootings. He thinks this incident will make people, including himself, more nervous about going to and hosting parties in the future.

“That’s definitely going to shake the party scene up for at least a little while,” Huray said. “That’s unprecedented, especially in Morningside; it’s crazy.”

Many parents have been shocked, upset and angry to hear the news. Midtown parent Dan Carter picked his daughter and her friends up from the party immediately after receiving a call from his daughter on an unknown phone number.

“I mean, getting that call, that’s the worst,” Carter said. “Our kids have had at least a year and a half of COVID where you kind of miss the social aspect of high school. I don’t know as a parent if I would want to host a party if I can imagine something like that can happen. I don’t know how you find the blend that allows high schoolers to have fun, but also keep it safe.”

Midtown parent Ayesha Khanna said, in theory, young people across America should not have to practice active shooter drills or worry about being shot when they’re going to a party.

“Our gun culture in this country and the open carry gun laws of Georgia without licensing requirements, waiting periods or background checks, helped to create these situations,” Khanna said. “Georgia has some of the most lax gun laws in the U.S. and is a source for guns that are used in crimes all over the country. There will always be conflict and people who act impulsively in society. The availability and the easy access to guns makes these interactions deadly.”

City Councilman Matt Westmoreland agrees that changes in gun policies need to occur. However, he said Georgia’s gun laws restrict the power the Atlanta City Council has over the issue.

“The harsh truth on the topic of guns, is that on this issue, and on many others, we at the city level are preempted by state law the steps we can take at the local level to try and curb access to guns or the number of guns or the sale,” Westmoreland said.

Westmoreland said the local government has taken steps to strengthen the APD.

“One of the primary responsibilities of city government is to run an effective police department,” Westmoreland said. “Filling the vacancies that have long plagued our department and making sure that we’ve got that; we’re recruiting well and training properly and retaining, all of those are important pieces of the puzzle.

Khanna said people have the opportunity to be proactive and address these issues to make situations like the shooting less common.

“I think we need to elect legislators who are focused on solutions and passing gun laws that make citizens of Georgia safer,” Khanna said. “I think it’s our responsibility as parents, as citizens in Georgia, to act and to recognize that this is not acceptable. We really have got to change our gun laws because it’s tragic what young people have been exposed to today.”

Additional Reporting by Sierra Pape and Shea Edwards.