Georgia Teen Shot And Killed By Stepfather After Argument About Staying At Home Amid Coronavirus Outbreak, Police Say

A teenager in Georgia was shot and killed by his stepfather after a fight over leaving his home while a shelter-in-place order is in effect due to the coronavirus pandemic, police said.

Bernie Hargrove, 42, was charged with felony murder in the death of 16-year-old De'onte Roberts last week, a spokesperson for the Atlanta Police Department confirmed to Newsweek.

Officers responded to an address on Lisbon Drive at around 8.20 p.m. on Wednesday.

Roberts's mother told police the teenager defied her and his stepfather's instructions to stay inside and had left the house in southwest Atlanta, police said.

"Later, the victim returned to the home and kicked in the door to the house where a physical fight began between the suspect and the victim. During that altercation, the victim was shot," police spokesman Steve Avery said.

Police said Hargrove shot the teenager in the chest on Wednesday night. The boy was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital, where he later died.

Hargrove was booked into the Fulton County Jail where he is being held without bond.

Atlanta
A sign displays social distancing rules at a park in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, on April 23, 2020. Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

Meanwhile, police have urged people who are struggling with staying at home during the coronavirus pandemic to remain calm during disputes

"Tensions get high because you're in the same space, day in and day out," Atlanta Police Captain D'Andrea Price told WSB-TV. "However, when the pressure gets high, you just have to take a deep breath and you have to separate."

Earlier this month, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp issued a statewide shelter-in-place order until April 30 to curb the spread of coronavirus.

But last week, Kemp said he would start relaxing restrictions despite experts warning that relaxing measures too soon could lead to a surge in COVID-19 infections.

On Friday, Georgia began to reopen its economy with businesses including hair salons, barber shops, gyms, body art studios and nail salons allowed to re-open for minimum basic operations.

On Monday, movie theaters are set to reopen and restaurants will be permitted to have dine-in customers on a limited basis.

The move sparked backlash from President Donald Trump, who told reporters that he disagreed "strongly" with Kemp's decision—just hours after CNN reported that a source said the president had called Kemp to express his support for the move.

"I told the governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, that I disagree strongly with his decision to open certain facilities which are in violation of the phase one guidelines for the incredible people of Georgia," Trump said during a coronavirus daily briefing on Wednesday.

"But, at the same time, he must do what he thinks is right. I want him to do what he thinks is right, but I disagree with him on what he's doing."

Georgia has more than 23,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and 916 deaths, according to the latest figures from the Georgia Department of Public Health. Fulton County has more than 2,500 cases and 94 deaths.

This article has been updated with a comment from the Atlanta Police Department and a graphic.

This infographic, provided by Statista, shows the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. as of April 27.

Statista U.S. Map Coronavirus
The map shows the states with confirmed COVID-19 cases. Statista.com

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advice on Using Face Coverings to Slow Spread of COVID-19

  • CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • A simple cloth face covering can help slow the spread of the virus by those infected and by those who do not exhibit symptoms.
  • Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items. Guides are offered by the CDC. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html)
  • Cloth face coverings should be washed regularly. A washing machine will suffice.
  • Practice safe removal of face coverings by not touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands immediately after removing the covering.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
  • If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
  • Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.
  • Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
  • The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.