A series of violent crimes in East Lake has residents on edge
This story has been updated.
A recent rash of carjackings and a home invasion in East Lake has put the community on high alert.
Luana Slaughter, one of the founders of the East Lake Security Patrol, knows of at least six incidents within the last two weeks. Police weren’t able to confirm all of the incidents she listed.
On Wednesday, March 29, Atlanta Police confirmed the arrest of one suspect, who wasn’t identified, and said the cases remain under investigation.
The first incident occurred in DeKalb County’s jurisdiction on March 23 at a home on Normal Street. According to police, the victim said he arrived home after 10 p.m. in a 2010 Honda Civic. While walking to his side door, he heard someone behind him.
“As he turned around, he observed a black male in his early 20s wearing a grey hoodie and bandanna around his face, possibly red and white,” the report says. “In his hand was a large hunting knife, sharp on both sides.”
The suspect told the victim to drop the keys, and the victim dropped them next to his car. The suspect picked up the keys, got into the car and drove off.
The next day, March 24, a teenage girl was carjacked on Tupelo Street. It also occurred after 10 p.m. The victim told police she had just arrived home after dropping off her boyfriend. When she stepped out of the vehicle, she saw a black male wearing dark colored clothing and a black hoodie, with a face partially covered by what looked like a bandanna. The suspect brandished a knife and ordered her to drop her keys, purse and told her to remove her clothes. She dropped her keys and purse and told the suspect to take it and leave her alone. The suspect picked up the keys and purse and threw the purse toward her, the report says. The suspect told her “this was a prank” then got in her vehicle and drove away.
There were three incidents reported the following night, according to Slaughter, though police could not confirm one of the incidents.
Around 9 p.m. on Allendale Drive, a man and his wife pulled into a driveway and turned off the vehicle. They were listening to music when a black male approached the driver side door. He pointed a “dark colored pistol” at the victims and told them to, “Get out of the car” and leave the keys in the ignition. The victim was holding the keys in his hands and dropped them outside the driver door. The suspect ordered the couple to leave. The suspect got in the vehicle and drove off. The suspect was described as a black male, 5 feet and 7 or 8 inches tall, and wore a gray hoodie and a bandanna on his face.
Slaughter said that same evening there was a carjacking on Spence Avenue, but police did not have a report for that incident.
There was a harrowing home invasion on Memorial Drive that night as well. Police said the report is not available for release. According to Slaughter and the sister of the victim, the knife-wielding suspect in that case came in through an unsecured storm door and the victim barricaded herself in a bedroom. The suspect kicked the door, hitting the victim in the face. The suspect left, and the victim ran into a different room and climbed out of a window.
Slaughter said on Monday, March 27, there was a carjacking on Hillside Avenue. Atlanta Police said they did not have any record of that incident. She said police believe the crimes are related.
“They have to be,” she said. “[Almost] every time the guy has a knife. He’s always on foot. It’s the element of surprise. I’ve spoken to mostly all of the victims. He approaches them out of nowhere. You’re in your car and somebody just appears.”