Neighborhood sees several hundred dangerous crimes in two months

By: Stephanie Baker
By: Stephanie Baker

Richmond County deputies are on the hunt for the person who shot and killed a man early Tuesday morning, June 6.

It happened in a place police call very dangerous: the 1500 block of Maple Street off Old Savannah Road in Augusta.

Investigators now have a person of interest.

Deputy Coroner Mark Bowen tells News 12 that 49-year-old Harold Burns died of a gunshot wound to the chest. The deadly shooting happened around 1:00 a.m.

A high-speed chase possibly related to another shooting ended just an hour later.

Those are just two of a couple hundred dangerous crimes that area has seen in just a few months.

Two crimes on one night, both in Doris Prather's neighborhood.

"I just pray for things like that," she says. "People...you never know what's on their mind, you never know what they're going through."

Officers found 49-year-old Harold Burns dead in front of his neighbor's house on Maple Street.

Only about an hour later and a few miles down the road, a high-speed car chase led deputies to a front yard. The chase ended there; one deputy crashed into a fire hydrant.

"It could have happened to us while we was in there sleeping," Prather says.

"I heard a boom and I jumped up out my bed, took a look outside, and saw a bunch of water go up in the air," says Fredrick Merriweather. He lives near the chase scene; the cars crashed into his fence.

The chase and shooting are part of a long list of dangerous crimes over the past two months in the area near Maple Street, Martin Luther King, and Wrightsboro Road. The charges range from drug trafficking to aggravated assault; 25 of them involve a deadly weapon.

Fredrick Merriweather says he's "very scared" about the recent crime in his neighborhood. Doris Prather worries about her family.

"My baby boy, he said, 'Oooh, Mama, look what done happened.' I said, 'Lord have mercy'. It could've come here."

A car chase and a homicide investigation in their neighborhood in just two hours, and several hundred other dangerous crimes in just two months.

Investigators are still in the field following up on Tuesday afternoon's lead. In addition to the person of interest they are questioning, they are looking for one other person with possible ties.

Deputies originally thought the driver in the high-speed chase had connections to the shooting. That driver took off when deputies tried to stop the vehicle.

At this point, they no longer suspect that person of the Maple Street shooting, but they do think the driver has ties with another shooting at a nearby housing project.


Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1212 Augusta, GA 30903 Main Telephone: (803) 278-1212 Newsroom: (803) 278-3111 Fax: (803) 442-4561
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