A father-of-three out jogging on Saturday morning in Atlanta’s wealthiest neighborhood, Buckhead, was shot twice by a ‘mentally ill’ man who police say also opened fire on two other people and mowed down a neighbor with his car.
Atlanta police arrested and charged 22-year-old Gaelen Newsom with attempted murder, three counts of aggravated assault and two counts of possession of a firearm during a crime in connection with the weekend crime spree.
The first shooting was in the 1200 block of West Wesley Road in Buckhead, Atlanta’s richest section, which has been making a push to form its own police force and secede from the rest of the city amid skyrocketing crime rates.
Data analysis shows that Buckhead’s population accounts for 20 per cent of Atlanta’s population, but more than 40 per cent of the city’s assessed property value.
Gaelen Newsome, 22 (left) is accused of shooting jogger Andrew Worrell, 41, twice in the leg and hip during a Saturday crime spree in Atlanta
Worrell was a mile into his regular 3-mile run on West Wesley Road in Buckhead, Atlanta, on Saturday when a silver sedan drove up to him, and a man pointed a gun at him and fired
Buckhead is Atlanta’s wealthiest neighborhood, where residents have been making a push to secede from the rest of the city amid skyrocketing crime rates
Anne Worrell said her husband, 41-year-old Andrew Worrell, was out for his regular 3-mile morning run when she got a call at 8.40am from a stranger saying her spouse had been shot.
In a Facebook post from Saturday afternoon, Anne revealed that her husband was about a mile into his run when a car approached him.
‘He thought they may be asking for directions so he stopped,’ recounted the wife. ‘The very tinted window rolled down and the guy pointed a gun at him and shot him, hit him in the upper thigh.
‘Andrew turned to run and the guy shot him again, this one entering his left hip, hitting his ball and socket before traveling horizontally through this lower abdomen and lodging itself in his right hip area.
Andrew, pictured above with his wife and three children, suffered gunshot wounds to his leg and hip. Good Samaritans stopped the bleeding and alerted his wife
Anne wrote in an update that Andrew underwent surgery and was expected to be released from the hospital on Monday
‘The guy shot again but missed him as Andrew dove behind a tree. The guy fled. Andrew called 911 and flagged down a couple wonderful people who called me and took off their shirt and tried to stop the bleeding. They stayed with him until police, fire and paramedics arrived.’
BUCKHEAD, GEORGIA: ONE OF THE NATION’S WEALTHIEST ZIP CODES
Buckhead is known as Atlanta’s commercial and residential district, famed for its high-rise buildings and shopping centers, hotels and mansions.
The neighborhood is a historically wealthy district and was once ranked the ninth richest zip code in the country with a median price of homes of $1,460,595, according to Forbes.
American suburban luxury home in Buckhead, Atlanta
Bloomberg named Buckhead the 20th richest zipcode in the nation in 2011, when the average household net worth there was $1,353,189.
The average household income was $280,631.
Because of this, Buckhead is often called the ‘Beverly Hills of the East/South’, in reference to the upscale city in California.
Buckhead is also known to have a few notable residents, including Georgia Republican Kelly Loeffler.
Loeffler was among the wealthiest members of Congress until she lost her seat in January. In 2009, she and her husband spent more than $10million on a European-style mansion named Descante in the Buckhead neighborhood.
First responders found Andrew suffering from gunshot wounds to his leg and hip. He was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital, where he underwent surgery and remained hospitalized as of Sunday night.
His wife wrote in a Facebook update on Sunday that her husband was on IV antibiotics to avoid getting an infection from the bullets. She said he could be discharged as early as Monday.
Meanwhile, as Andrew Worrell was being taken to the hospital on Saturday morning, police received calls that two more joggers in the area had been targeted by gunfire, though neither was hit, Deputy Atlanta Police Chief Charles Hampton Jr. told news outlets. Witnesses said the shots came from a passing silver sedan.
Police found a Kia Forte that matched that description about three hours later, at 11.30am, when the car’s driver ran into a man taking out the trash at the Collier Ridge Apartments complex at 1714 Noble Creek Drive.
Atlanta police said the victim, described as a man in his 20s, was seriously injured, having been pinned between the sedan and an unoccupied pickup truck. He was rushed the same hospital as Worrell for surgery.
Police arrested the driver of the car, identified as Gaelen Newsom. Inside the vehicle, they also found shell casings from fired bullets. Hampton said investigators believed the casings will match bullets fired at the joggers.
‘We have information that he may have been suffering from some type of mental health crisis,’ Hampton said of Newsom.
Buckhead has seen several high-profile instances of violence in recent months, including the fatal shooting of a 7-year-old girl in December.
The sharp increase in crime rates has prompted Buckhead’s residents to form the Buckhead Exploratory Committee to create its own police force and look into the possibility of breaking away from Atlanta, after around 200 officers left the city’s police force in the wake of the shooting death of black man Rayshard Brooks by a white cop in June 2020.
‘Our residents are genuinely concerned for their safety and the safety of their family members,’ members of the committee told the Wall Street Journal in March.
City officials have opposed the idea to separate the wealthy, largely white neighborhood from the rest of Atlanta, which is predominantly black, arguing it would siphon away much of the city’s tax base and, in turn, its budget.
According to data analysis done by Atlanta Journal Constitution in April, if Buckhead were to secede, it would remove 41 per cent, or $14billion, of the assessed value of Atlanta’s property, and eviscerate its budget.
Buckhead’s population is 73.5 per cent white and 23.9 per cent black. This compares to the wider Atlanta population which is 50.7 per cent black and 38 per cent white, according to Data US.
Homicides were up 63 percent across Atlanta in the period running January 1 to May 23 compared to the same period last year, crime data show.
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms admitted in December she doesn’t know how to stop the alarming wave of violence and is ‘open to suggestions.’
Homicides were up 63 percent across Atlanta in the period running January 1 to May 23 compared to the same period last year, rape rates skyrocketed 108 per cent, shooting incidents rose 45 per cent, robberies inched up 2 per cent and aggravated assaults jumped 29 per cent
Back in December, seven-year-old Kennedy Maxie (pictured) was fatally shot in the back of the head while riding in a car with her aunt and mother in Buckhead
Rayshard Brooks (pictured) was shot dead in the drive-thru lane of an Atlanta Wendy’s by a white cop back on June 12
Rape rates skyrocketed 108 per cent, shooting incidents rose 45 per cent, robberies inched up 2 per cent and aggravated assaults jumped 29 per cent.
In terms of raw data, Atlanta had 57 murders, 302 shootings, 75 rapes, 298 robberies and 986 aggravated assaults.
Adjusting for population, a person living in Atlanta is more likely to be a victim of a serious crime, including murder and aggravated assault, than in Chicago, where crime rates are higher, reported 11Alive.