A 7-year-old Atlanta girl was out Christmas shopping with her mother and aunt last Monday when she was struck by a stray bullet. Tragically, she died of her injuries Saturday night, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Kennedy Maxie's aunt was driving near a high-end shopping mall when she heard gunfire, then realized the child had been hit. She drove directly to a hospital, where Kennedy was rushed into surgery. Police don't believe their vehicle was the intended target; they say the shooting erupted after a disagreement in the parking lot of the nearby Saks Fifth Avenue.
Police are reviewing surveillance footage in an attempt to identify the shooter. "Our hearts are broken by the senseless murder of Kennedy," Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said in a statement. "We urge the public to continue to provide information that will lead to the arrests of the careless and heartless people responsible for Kennedy’s death." 11 Alive reports that the Atlanta Police Department has investigated 50% more murders this year than last year, and says this latest incident has sparked a fierce debate among city leaders, with one councilmember accusing city administration of minimizing concerns about violence and failing to take "game-changing action steps." (Read more Atlanta stories.)