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Atlanta shootings have left 4 children dead in a 3-week span. Mayor says this is an unacceptable trend

<i>Patrick Semansky/AP</i><br/>In the span of three weeks
Patrick Semansky/AP
In the span of three weeks

By Amir Vera, Hannah Sarisohn and Tina Burnside, CNN

In the span of three weeks, shootings in Atlanta have killed four children between the ages of 11 and 16, and Mayor Andre Dickens said Sunday the recent trend is unacceptable.

“A week before Christmas, families should be preparing to celebrate,” Dickens wrote in a statement. “Instead, we have parents in Atlanta doing what no parent should ever have to do: laying their children to rest.”

Dickens wrote these last few weeks “have shown all too clearly that Atlanta is not immune from this unacceptable trend.”

The most recent shooting took place Saturday evening at an apartment complex when two teens were killed and three others were injured, according to Deputy Chief Charles Hampton Jr. with the city’s police department.

Hampton said the shooting appeared to start as some sort of dispute on social media that escalated into gunfire between two groups. One group of individuals came to the apartment complex with guns. However, it was the second group at that location who opened fire on the first group of individuals, according to Hampton.

The victims in this shooting were identified as two boys — ages 14 and 16 — who were dead when police arrived on scene, Hampton said. The injured victims included an 11-year-old boy, a 15-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy, who were all taken to a local hospital.

Police are currently interviewing several individuals to see what their involvement was in the shooting.

“This should be a time where we all should be getting ready for the holidays, but we have at least two families that will be planning funerals,” Hampton said.

This follows the shooting at Atlantic Station, a popular shopping district, on November 26 that left two boys dead. Those victims were identified as Zyion Charles, 12, and Cameron Jackson, 15.

Police said that shooting occurred after a “group of juveniles” were escorted off Atlantic Station property for “unruly behavior” and violating the retail district’s curfew. The group then moved to 17th Street, where the dispute occurred and gunfire erupted. Zyion died at the scene. But it was Cameron, who succumbed to his injuries several days later, who was the intended target of the shooting, police said.

Two boys, ages 15 and 16, were arrested in connection with this shooting. Each of them face two murder charges along with charges of aggravated assault and criminal gang activity, Hampton said.

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CNN’s Melissa Alonso and Dakin Andone contributed to this report.

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