Wilborn P. Nobles III
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta City Councilwoman Mary Norwood is urging law enforcement officials to crack down on repeat criminal offenders after a 77-year-old woman was fatally stabbed inside her Buckhead home on Saturday.
Speaking during the council’s public safety committee meeting on Monday, Norwood said the system needs to buckle down on its worst criminals. She blamed those offenders for the prevalence of crime in the city, and said the violence is becoming more outrageous.
“What do we need to change with the juvenile court system? What do we need to change with the cash bail system,” Norwood said. “It’s not just the horrific crime on Saturday, it is the culmination of all of this…We have got a broken judicial system and it’s unbelievable.
“This is not Atlanta, and if it is somebody’s Atlanta, they need to go somewhere else.”
Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens announced Monday evening that Antonio Brown, 23, was arrested in DeKalb County and is being questioned in connection to Eleanor Bowles’ death. Police said Brown was booked into Fulton County jail on charges of murder, aggravated battery, possession of a knife during the commission of a felony, elder abuse, and hijacking a motor vehicle.
“When something like this happens, the entire village is impacted and the entire village is called to support,” Dickens said.
Michael Bowles said in a statement Sunday that he found his mother dead when he arrived at her Paces West Terrace home — just off West Paces Ferry Road and about 2 miles from the Georgia Governor’s Mansion — for a holiday visit. Atlanta police said she was stabbed multiple times.
Investigators said Sunday that they think Bowles may have interrupted the suspect between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Saturday as he tried to steal her 2021 Lexus Rx 350 from her home. Her vehicle was recovered in DeKalb after allegedly being driven to different locations across Atlanta, police said.
Bowles’ death is Atlanta’s 157th homicide this year, compared with 160 homicides last year.
Atlanta Police Chief of Staff Major Jason Smith said the police plan to visit businesses and residences throughout Buckhead to try to get them to integrate their cameras into the city’s surveillance system.
Atlanta City Councilwoman Marci Collier Overstreet said the system is currently failing to keep people in jail who deserve to be there. She even asked Smith if lawmakers should create a police unit similar to the city’s former Red Dog squad, which is when Atlanta officers conducted heavy-handed drug raids beginning in the late 1980s.
The Red Dog unit was disbanded under Mayor Kasim Reed’s administration in 2011. Reed dismantled it after complaints of excessive use of force, and in one instance, the city paid more than $1 million to settle a lawsuit brought by patrons of the Atlanta Eagle bar, who claimed Red Dog officers violated their civil rights in a 2009 raid.
But on Monday, Bruce Griggs, a former juvenile probation officer who now runs an organization helping at-risk youth, said the city’s current programs are not working. And city resident Duwon Robinson said it’s time to enforce a curfew — as well as the revival of the Red Dog squad.
“If you’re not scared to kill a 77-year-old white woman, you damn sure ain’t scared to kill a 45-year-old Black man,” Robinson said. “We need to get this Red Dog unit back on the gang task force with these young Black boys. We got to stop this immediately.”
AJC Reporter Alexis Stevens contributed to this article.