Georgia's governor is deploying as many as 1,000 National Guard troops after deadly shootings in Atlanta over a violent Fourth of July weekend

By Ryan Pickrell

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency and authorized the deployment on Monday after a violent weekend saw dozens of people shot and several killed.

An executive order issued Monday also authorized the activation of up to 1,000 Georgia National Guard troops to protect state buildings and help free up police resources to "allow state law enforcement personnel to increase patrols on roadways and throughout communities."

More than 30 Georgians were shot over the Fourth of July weekend, and five people, including an eight-year-old girl, were killed.

The young girl, Secoriea Turner, was shot and killed Saturday night near the Wendy's where Rayshard Brooks was killed in a confrontation with police last month. Turner was in a car with her mother and her mother's friend when multiple shooters opened fire on the vehicle.

Demonstrators have occupied the Wendy's since Brook's death, which has triggered several weeks of protests.

"Peaceful protests were hijacked by criminals with a dangerous, destructive agenda," the Republican governor stated Monday. "Now, innocent Georgians are being targeted, shot, and left for dead."

"This lawlessness must be stopped and order restored in our capital city," he said. "Enough with the tough talk."

The move Monday follows a tweet the day before saying that he was ready to "take action" if local leaders could not get the situation under control, a message apparently meant for Atlanta's Democratic mayor.

Kemp tweeted Sunday that "this recent trend of lawlessness is an outrage & unacceptable," adding that "while we stand ready to assist local leaders in restoring peace & maintaining order, we won't hesitate to take action without them."

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms condemned the violence, saying Sunday night that "enough is enough" and stressing that the violence over the weekend was not at the hands of police but members of the community instead.

"This random wild wild West shoot-'em-up because you can has gotta stop," she said. "It has to stop."

The National Guard members deployed to Atlanta, according to a statement on the executive order, will be responsible for protecting the Georgia State Capitol, Governor's Mansion, and Georgia Department of Public Safety Headquarters. The latter was vandalized over the weekend.

The Georgia governor previously deployed National Guard troops in late May in response to looting, rioting and property damage amid nationwide protests following the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died in the custody of Minneapolis police over Memorial Day.

Kemp's office said the latest order was in response to "weeks of dramatically increased violent crime and property destruction" in the city of Atlanta.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported on Monday that at least 93 people were shot in the city between May 31 and June 27, twice as many as the same period last year.