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Auriel Callaway Killed in Crossfire at Clarke Gardens Apartments. Was the Community a Safe Haven for Criminals?

Auriel Callaway, a 24-year-old pregnant mother was caught in the crossfire during a deadly shootout at Clarke Gardens Apartments in Athens, GA on July 23rd. News reports say Callaway was shielding her three-year-old son, trying to usher him indoors, when she was struck by a bullet. “She got hit with her son in her arms, and she’s pregnant” Callaway’s sister told reporters at WSB-TV. "That’s my only sister. They took our baby away from us.” Calloway died later at the hospital. The unborn baby was too young to survive.


The shooting erupted when adults intervened with a group of kids who were arguing. Police are uncertain who started shooting, and they don't know who fired the shot the struck Callaway.

What is certain is that local residents had complained online about violent crime in the neighborhood. One Google review states, “Nothing but trash and home to violent criminals who repeatedly vandalize and burglarize homes in the adjacent neighborhood.” Another review suggests that the Clark Gardens Apartments are “horrible” and that authorities “need to tear it down.”

If the managers and owners Clark Gardens Apartments knew about a pattern of crime that occoured on and around their property, then they had an obligation to do something about it. Chuck Clay is an Atlanta-based attorney who represents people all over Georgia in negligent security cases. Chuck says, "When management tolerates crime on their property, word can spread, and a property can actually attract criminals."

When this happens, management can be held liable for crime that occurs in their property. Police have the ability to investigate crimes. In this case, they have interviewed multiple witnesses, and they may be able to track down the person who killed Auriel Callaway. But it up to the families of victims of violent crimes to stand up and hold property managers accountable when they contributed to an atmosphere that fostered the crime. The criminal justice system can deal with the violent criminal; the civil justice system can be used to hold the property owners and managers accountable and Make Athens Safe.

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