A pair of high school students were killed and seven others wounded when gunfire erupted outside a birthday party attended by more than 100 teens near Atlanta, officials said Monday.
Shots rang out after hosts of the Sweet 16 celebration ended the party at 10:41 p.m. Saturday because the event had grown to an unexpected size and some guests were smoking marijuana, Douglas County Sheriff's investigators said.
Samuel Moon, 15, and AJ’anaye Hill, 14, were identified Monday as victims of the fatal shooting. Moon was in the 10th grade at Lithia Springs HS, while Hill was a freshman at Douglas County HS.
No arrests were immediately made, and Douglas County Sheriff Tim Pounds appealed to the public for help.
"It's just a matter of time, I'm going to catch them," the sheriff told reporters late Monday afternoon.
"It's just going to take me a while to do, but I'm going to catch them because we got to stop this senseless killing. But I need my community right now to join in and help me because someone out there knows something."
While Sheriff Pounds used the word "them," officials said it wasn't immediately known how many people fired shots Saturday night on Sitka Drive in Douglasville.
The seven others shot ranged in age from 14 to 19. The party's hosts have not been charged with any crimes, officials said.
"The homeowners decided to shut the party down ... due to marijuana use and the growing of the party," said Capt. Jon Mauney.
"Shortly after the party was stopped the shooting occurred approximately 50 yards up the roadway."
Douglasville is a suburb about 20 miles west of downtown Atlanta.
"This is an all-out assault on our young people, on our children, on our babies in our community," District Attorney Dalia Racine said. "And we have to figure out a solution."
CORRECTION (March 6, 2023, 8:47 a.m. ET): A previous version of this article misstated the name of the sheriff’s office investigating the shooting. It is the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, not the Douglasville County Sheriff’s Office.