Family members, friends, civic and business leaders, and elected officials placed votive candles in paper bags decorated with messages to the 33-year-old video game programmer and the community. Some attendees donned yellow, a nod to the color of the game piece that Cotrona often picked when he played board games.
Cotrona, a summa cum laude Georgia Tech graduate who left the corporate world several years ago to join a small video game company on the Westside, was described by longtime friend Nate Tang in a touching and lighthearted remembrance as someone who read several books at a time, "never saw limitations." He was, Tang said with a smile, a "good dancer and a bad dresser" who "drank fancy beer and ate cheap cereal, often at the same time... at dinner."
Kate Cotrona Krumm, Patrick's sister who first hanged a sign proclaiming "His name was Patrick Cotrona" on the utility pole near where her brother was shot, remembered a kind, brilliant, and funny man - and asked that his death would force action to address crime.
"My family was and is determined to make sure that people know that Patrick was not just another statistic victim of violent crime in this city," she told the crowd. "He is you, me or anyone of us. A normal citizen. We believe this message is not just about Patrick, but about all those other victims who have remained nameless, who were just 'man shot and killed.'"
Like other speakers, she urged the community to hold the city and judicial system responsible.
"I ask all of you to seize this opportunity to expect nothing less from our police, council, mayor, courts, and prison than reform happen in this city," she said. "Often times public outcry demands an answer in the present. Then the attention wanes and the issues are forgotten. Do not let this fall into the cracks, waiting for another victim to be deemed the 'tipping point.' There must be action, our citizens must be protected, and you must protect yourselves."
Attendees at the event organized by East Atlanta resident Nate Minor vowed that the neighborhood and other southeast Atlanta communities would not tolerate the senseless crimes that have rattled the area to continue.
"These tragedies must end," East Atlanta Community Association President Kevin Spigener said. "To end them, we must change. We will be told that the causes of such violence are too complex, which is true... That can't be an excuse for inaction."
Cotrona's fatal shooting was one of at least two homicides in recent weeks in southeast Atlanta. That's in addition to several nearby robberies, including one in Grant Park that resulted in the victim losing an eye. The crimes have spurred the communities to demand the city boost public safety.
The Atlanta Police Department has stepped up patrols in East Atlanta, Grant Park, and other communities in response. A $25,000 reward is being offered to anyone who helps find Cotrona's killer.
"You want this crime solved today," said Atlanta City Councilwoman Natalyn Archibong, who was joined by Atlanta City Councilman Michael Julian Bond. "And I want it solved today... I get it, the mayor gets it, our neighbors get it. And knuckleheads, stay out of here!'
Atlanta Citizen Advocate Stephanie Ramage told the crowd on Friday that the broken Georgia Power-owned street light along the street where Cotrona was shot should be "addressed within the week."
"I didn't watch baseball, football or basketball for nearly a decade because it was from…
"What about the ITP fans? Are they fat asses...?" _______________________________________________________ I suppose, but Oy and…
"Some people join unions for philosophical reasons." __________________________________________ All people join unions for philosophical reasons…
" I am asking you for your source to prove union members are leftists." _________________________________________________________…
"GO BRAVES! AND KEEP RIGHT ON GOING!...right outta town...."
Finally - common ground!
"Seventy rounds fired? I'm surprised that Ghetto Gobins can even perform a magazine change." _____________________________________________________________…