Atlanta Police have arrested two juveniles for threatening people with guns while trying to sell them water at intersections. In another incident, a motorist was shot at by a teen selling water, but no arrest has been made.
Young people selling water at street corners and off-ramps has become a common sight around the city, and there have been numerous reports of juveniles becoming aggressive or hostile with customers who ignored or refused to buy water or soft drinks. APD said in a statement that it is “aware of the issues related to individuals selling water at intersections in the city and officers are working to address these.”
On July 16 around 1:30 p.m., a teen selling water shot at a motorist on the Lee Street exit ramp off I-20. According to the police report, the driver got into a dispute with the group of young people selling water on the exit ramp. When the driver pulled away, one of the teens fired at least twice into the car striking the driver in the hand and leg. The victim initially declined medical treatment, but later went to Northside Hospital. No arrests have been made in the case and investigation continues.
On July 16 around 5:30 p.m., officers responded to a call regarding a juvenile carrying a handgun and threatening people as he sold water in the area of 3350 Peachtree Road. Officers located the 14-year-old juvenile and immediately noticed a bulge under his shirt. Officers recovered a handgun from the teen’s waistband and placed him into custody. Officers charged the juvenile with possession of a firearm by a minor, pedestrian in the roadway, possession of less than one ounce of marijuana, and littering.
On July 15 around 3:30 p.m., officers patrolling in the area of Peachtree Road and Piedmont Road were flagged down by a man who advised he had been assaulted by a group of juveniles who had been selling water at the intersection. The male pointed out the group who had assaulted him and upon seeing this, two of the juvenile ran away. Officers were able to apprehend one of the males, a 15-year-old. However, the other was not located. After detaining the teen, officers recovered a loaded handgun in a bag he was carrying. The victim declined to prosecute for the assault and officers charged the 15-year-old with possession of a firearm by a minor and pedestrian in the roadway. During their interaction, the teen offered officers $300 if they would let him go, leading to a charge of bribery. As the investigation progressed, officers learned the 15-year-old had been arrested several times before for incidents including armed robbery, breaking into a vehicle, and theft of a vehicle.
Both of the arrested juveniles were released into the custody of family members after Fulton County Juvenile Intake would not accept them. APD was told the juveniles did not “meet the criteria” for intake.
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has convened the Atlanta Youth Entrepreneurship Advisory Council comprised of community members and partners to develop strategies to help promote youth entrepreneurship in the city, including water sellers.