October 16, 2005
Twenty-four hours after a deadly shooting in Augusta, police are still looking for the person who pulled the trigger. It all started at the Augusta Inn and Conference Center on Stevens Creek Road near I-20. News 12 has more in the investigation.
It all happened so quickly.
“They were running away, just piling in there,” one witness said.
200 teenagers were attending a private party at the Augusta Inn and Conference Center when police say someone shot and killed 18-year-old Rodnick Patterson.
“We haven’t been able to ascertain what the argument was over. We know it was two groups of individuals who arrived at the party separately. We know there was an argument between the groups,” said Richard Roundtree, Richmond Co. Sheriff’s Office.
The scene quickly turned into chaos. Three arrests made for ensuing fights unrelated to the murder.
“Me, where I’m from I’m used to hearing gun shots so I ran just like I did back then,” said Tony Garza, witness.
“Because of the chaos that ensued after a lot of the potential witnesses fled the scene,” Roundtree said.
“I think it’s just getting a little out of hand now,” said Gary Willingham, parent of partygoer.
Gary Willingham got here around midnight to pick up his son from the party. The party was billed as the Teen Hotel Party II, with a subtitle “Unfinished Business.” This flyer states “This time we ain’t shutting down nothing early.” And is used a slang work, crunk, three times.
“It seems to always turn out someway different from what you think but not this horrendous. The kids just always go find parties when they find out from other kids where the parties are, they wanna go,” Willingham said.
Sgt. Roundtree says at least one off-duty deputy provided security at the party, but wasn’t able to catch the gunman. Managers at the Augusta Inn and Conference Center now say the private teen parties are done for good.
The event’s organizers did not return our calls seeking comment. And police still want to interview several kids who left the scene before investigators got there. They’re asking witnesses to call 821-1080 and ask to speak to a violent crimes investigator.