Late-night Augusta shooting leaves man dead

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June 25, 2006

Another shooting in a downtown Augusta neighborhood has police searching for a killer and neighbors frightened for their lives.

It's the second murder in the past month in one of Augusta's most dangerous parts of town, and neighbors say the problems are getting worse.

It happened behind the Beauty and Beyond 98 Cent Store around one o'clock in the morning on Saturday, June 24.

One grieving mother's son was caught in the middle.

"They took my baby away from me," she tells News 12. "I never thought this day would come."

That day would be June 24, 2006, when she'd live to tell the tale of a mother's worst nightmare.

"She said Eva hurry up and get down there, because they think little John is dead," she says.
"When I got there he was covered with the sheet."

Investigators say her son, John Grimes III, was on his way back from the Circle K gas station.

He was riding his bike down 12th Street near the Martin Luther King intersection when the sound of gunshots echoed in the night.

"I don't know what happened or how but one of his friends says he left the Pump and Shop to get some Gatorade."

That's when deputies say one of those speeding bullets hit Grimes in the chest. He was pronounced dead on the scene.

Waking up to the sounds of gunshots in the middle of the night is nothing new for these neighbors. It's why they say they won't talk to us on camera. They fear they too might get caught in the line of fire.

"He came in, took a bath, and went to his friends house, and last time I seen him, he left here around four," says Grimes' mother.

It would be the last time she'd ever hear or see him again.

"I said, 'Give momma $2 before you go,' and he left, and he gave it to me, and I said, 'I was just playing', so he left it on the table and he said, 'I'll be back later on Momma'," she says. "He never did come back."

Now heart-broken and grieving, Grimes' mother struggles to find answers for her grandson, too young to understand why his father won't ever be back.

The Richmond County Sheriff's Office wants your help locating a man wanted for questioning in this case.

Investigators say Steven Lewis Griffin may have information regarding the shooting.

Police say Griffin was with Grimes when he was killed and that he also suffered a gunshot wound to his hand or forearm.

If you have any information, call the sheriff's office at 706-821-1080.