Atlanta is a nice place to live in many respects. It’s a quintessential Southern city in a lot of ways. The people there love their sports teams, and the Atlanta Braves just won the National League’s Eastern Division. They will face off against the Milwaukee Brewers in the Divisional Round, spurred on by the play of stars like Ronald Acuna Jr. and Ozzie Albies.
On the other hand, Atlanta has a seedy underbelly that sometimes shows its face. Like any large city, crime can be a problem, especially in underprivileged neighborhoods. The murder rate in Atlanta and outlying areas can be alarmingly high, and some murders get a ton of publicity in the local media.
That’s true of shooting this past summer. The cops are requesting the public’s help in identifying a “person of interest” in that shooting. They seem hesitant to call this individual a suspect at this point, but asking the public for tips is always an interesting way to go.
We’ll talk a little about this strategy right now.
The Murder the Police Are Investigating
Atlanta police homicide detectives are the ones who decided to release still photos of the person of interest in the homicide, which took place in August of this year. They say that this individual might help them solve the shooting death which took place at the Shell station at the corner of Fairburn Road
Southwest and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.
In Georgia, you might wonder what the victim’s family can do if and when any members of the public identify the suspect. Seeking justice is not as simple as doing something like hiring a personal injury lawyer. As the lvnvlawyer.com website notes, people injured by another party or person “may be entitled to compensation for losses and damages.”
It’s comforting to know that, but even if someone does turn over information that leads to the murder’s arrest and eventual conviction, that is a criminal penalty. That is not the same as a civil trial. It is through a civil trial that the family might be able to seek financial compensation, such as getting money to cover the deceased individual’s lost earnings if they were a household’s primary breadwinner.
Regardless of whether the murderer would face both a criminal trial through police-mandated charges and also a civil one from the family, the first step is catching them. That’s where the general public comes in. But how likely is it that the public will turn this individual over to the police or give them a viable tip that will lead to their capture?
The Person of Interest
In theory, asking the public for help in solving crimes is not a bad move. It’s not that uncommon of a practice. In situations like this, the police can often turn to surveillance footage and either show it or else show still frames captured from the video that features the suspect or “person of interest.”
In this instance, the person of interest appears to be a young African-American male. The police released two still frames, probably from a security camera from the Shell station’s interior.
In one, the young man wears blue jeans and a black, hooded sweatshirt that says “Antisocial” across the chest. In the other shot, possibly taken on a different day, he’s wearing a backpack and a black baseball cap turned backward. Since the clothing is different in the two pictures, it seems likely the two shots came from different days.
This seems to indicate that this person of interest frequents this Shell station regularly. This makes it likely that he either lives nearby or else stops by that Shell station periodically for another reason. Possibly he works around there or knows someone nearby that he likes to visit. That’s just idle speculation, of course: it’s the police’s job to figure that out.
The Public’s Frequent Reluctance to Speak to the Police
The police released very few details about the person of interest beyond those two pictures, which they feature prominently on the WSB-TV News 2 website. They did not release any more incident details or what might have led up to the shooting.
This is not all that unusual since this is an active murder investigation. You would expect that the police would hold several details back from the public. If they end up questioning a suspect, and that suspect reveals murder details the police held back, they will incriminate themselves that way, and the justice system will have an easier job convicting them.
The police are asking anyone with knowledge of the incident to call Crime Stoppers Atlanta. There is a number you can call on the news station website and also on the Atlanta police department’s site. You can seek a reward of up to $2,000 for a useful tip.
Again, it’s not strange for the police to seek the public’s help in this way. What the authorities often find, though, is that citizens are reluctant to step forward, even if they feel like they might know who the suspect or person of interest is.
There’s a street code by which many citizens live, not just in Atlanta but in cities all over the country. The public does not always want to contact the police because they might not necessarily trust them. There are always exceptions to this rule. Offering a cash reward is sometimes enough to break that code of silence.
It’s anybody’s guess whether someone who knows the young man in the pictures will step forward with information. They might do it, but they may also realize a critical detail: when the police say “person of interest,” nothing says that the individual in the pictures is not the murder suspect. A friend or relative might not want to turn them in for that very reason.
Cash is a powerful motivator, though, and it might be enough for someone who knows this person to come forward.