Shootings par for East Atlanta 

EAST ATLANTA PRIDES itself on being a funky watering hole amid the city's starch nightspots, the Jack Kerouac to Buckhead's Jim Belushi. A couple of shootings aren't going to end all that. But recent shootings in East Atlanta have left one man hurt, another dead and an entertainment district fearing a wounded image.

Around 4 a.m. on Aug. 26, Allen Godfrey saw a man breaking into a blue Mitsubishi on Glenwood Avenue. Godfrey told the man, later identified as Charles Tallington, that he was calling the police.

"All I was trying to do was just identify someone breaking into a car," says Godfrey, the 32-year-old part-owner of the Fountainhead Lounge. He says the man reached for a weapon. So Godfrey fired his 9 mm pistol, hitting Tallington once in the chest. Tallington died. Police ruled Godfrey's action justified.

About three weeks earlier, guitarist Scott Lambert was leaving the Echo Lounge when he saw someone sitting in the front seat of his Acura Integra. Lambert and a friend approached the car and demanded the man get out. The man shot at Lambert, hitting him in the face and chest with the .357 Magnum Lambert kept in his glove compartment. Doctors say it will take a year for his face to heal.

But two shootings do not make a war zone. And in the Atlanta Police Department's Zone 6, the vast plot encompassing East Atlanta, police say crime is not on the rise.

"Zone 6 has the lowest overall crime totals in the city," says police spokesman John Quigley. "Zone 6 having an incident or two, particularly one where someone is shooting in self-defense, would not be a situation causing us to make any adjustments."

Beth Cope, president of the East Atlanta Community Association, says Zone 6 officers have made their presence known.

"Our sensitivity to crime is heightened," Cope says. "But there is not an unusual sense of fear from the community."


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