A passerby shot a Black Lives Matter protester in Atlanta on Friday night. Footage from the scene was published by TMZ, showing terrified demonstrators ducking in confusion as someone fired a gun from a car passing by the crowd. One woman was hit in the leg.
The shooting took place near the remains of the Wendy's where Rayshard Brooks was killed by police last week, according to a report by local news outlet 11 Alive. The video showed the victim — 24-year-old Mahima Dhesi — remaining conscious after being hit, and later as medics arrived. Police said that she remains "alert, conscious and breathing," with another spokesman saying that she is in stable condition. However, accounts of the attack from Dhesi and other witnesses do not all match up.
According to Dhesi, a bald Black man shot her, adding that he was firing randomly into the crowd of demonstrators. Another witness told police that the shots came from a car with a White man and woman inside.
The video seems to verify that about 20 gunshots went off in the incident. Police say they are investigating the entire situation, though tensions between them and protesters in the city remain high. The protesters were gathered at the burnt remains of a Wendy's restaurant where Rayshard Brooks was killed last Friday during a DUI check.
Police were called to the restaurant around 10:30 p.m. because Brooks was asleep in his car, which was blocking the drive-thru lane. Body camera footage from the scene shows Brooks cooperating with police for about 40 minutes until they try to arrest him. Before he could be handcuffed, Brooks snatched a taser from an officer's hand and made a run for it, firing it over his shoulder as he did so.
In response, former officer Garrett Rolfe fired three shots at Brooks, hitting him twice in the back. He was pronounced dead shortly after at an area hospital. Rolfe was fired from the police department the following morning, but it was several days before he was arrested and charged with murder. Protesters say that this is indicative of the problem.
Breaking: Atlanta Police have 1 protester in custody after a shooting during a protest at Ponce & Monroe. Witnesses say a man upset by protesters blocking an intersection grabbed a weapon out of his car. One protester was then arrested for shooting at that man, police say. pic.twitter.com/qtEWpgHuwL— Matt Johnson (@MattWSB) June 20, 2020
As protests continue in Atlanta, the shooting that injured Dhesi was not the only armed confrontation on Friday night. Earlier in the day, a man in a car reportedly brandished a gun at protesters blocking the road in front of him. In response, one of the protesters shot at him. One person was injured in that shootout. Shortly after, another shooting reportedly broke out in the Midtown area, with no injuries.