ATLANTA — A dispute over a stolen cellphone ended with a teen pointing a gun at a group of people along the Atlanta BeltLine.
No one was hurt, but the witnesses told Channel 2′s Audrey Washington the experience has been disturbing. She spoke with Ralph Mitchell, who had the gun pointed at his stomach.
Mitchell said he did not know whether the teen was going to pull the trigger. He said an even scarier thing was that the event happened in the daylight, with plenty of people nearby, along one of the busiest parts of the BeltLine.
“Anytime you’re staring down the barrel of a gun, it’s not a good feeling,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell is one of several people seen in the video of the incident, which was initially shared on social media.
He said it all began on Friday evening, after he, his daughter, son-in-law and others, witnessed some young people snatch a cellphone from a couple on the BeltLine.
“When they snatched the phone, they ran up that way and the couple chased them,” Mitchell said.
He said the kids then started harassing another person on a scooter. Mitchell, his family and some others approached the young people about the theft.
He said minutes later, more teens gathered around and threatened him.
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“These were kids from maybe 12, to 13 or 16. One looked extremely young,” Mitchell said.
In a video recorded by Mitchell’s daughter, one teen takes a gun out and points it at Mitchell and the others. Then, all of the kids run away.
“We were frightened,” Mitchell said.
Washington contacted Atlanta police, who said they are reviewing the video and searching for all the young people involved.
Courtney Mbah walks the BeltLine almost every day and told Washington that she wants more officers in the area.
“Maybe more police patrolling around. You really don’t see that enough,” Mbah said.
“They can’t protect the whole area. The BeltLine is just too big. But there are some solutions,” Mitchell said.
“And do you believe the solutions begin at home?” Washington asked Mitchell.
“They do, I definitely believe that,” Mitchell said.
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