The city mourns venerated civic leader Barney Simms who was murdered in his yard on Saturday evening, police state.
Witnesses told authorities they heard gunshots at approximately 4 p.m. Saturday on Connally Drive in southwest Atlanta. Ironically, Simms was the president of the neighborhood association, WSBTV reports.
A neighbor found Simms dead in his yard. His front door was unlocked and his black Lexus was missing. Police theorize robbery was the motive behind the shooting. Simms’ home had been targeted at least twice in the past. Neighbors told the media they implored him to get an alarm system installed in his home.
Simms joined the Atlanta Housing Authority in August 2002 and also served as chairman of several organizations, including the Fulton County DFCS Advisory Board, and the Andrew and Walter Young Family YMCA.
He was the longtime leader of Atlanta’s License Review Board, which handles alcohol licensing in the city.
Police have no suspects at this time, although his car was recovered in nearby East Point, Ga.
Atlanta City Council member Keisha Lance Bottoms also released the following statement:
“I am simply heartbroken by the senseless killing of Barney Simms. As an active and gracious leader of the Bonnybrook community, there was no task, too big or too small, that he engaged in to make his neighborhood, and city, a better place. From donning t-shirts and jeans to pick up trash and cut brush alongside his neighbors, to wearing the finest suit to meet with leaders who could be held accountable for change, he epitomized the active engagement and leadership we wish for in all of our neighborhoods. Southwest Atlanta has truly lost a pillar of this community.”