Deputies beef up security for anniversary of First Friday shooting

Hundreds out tonight enjoying First Friday on this independence day weekend, but aside from the holiday--today also marks an anniversary many don

First Friday 4th security boost for anniversary of First Friday shooting.

News 12 at 11 o'clock

Friday June 5, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW)--It's First Friday on the 5th--Fourth of July style.

But as the crowd paints the town red, the memory of blue lights are extra bright.

"It was a little scary at first," said Debbie Caron, co-owner of the Eroz Bistro.

Today marks the year anniversary since the Friday shooting that injured six people.

This year Richmond County deputies decided to maximize downtown security.

"Safety is obviously our main concern," said Sgt. Danny Whitehead with the Richmond County Sheriff's Office "We want everybody to come down and enjoy the weekend downtown, but plan ahead."

More recent violence has also spread a fear, including an all out brawl caught on video, as well as a brutal beating on the Riverwalk.

Incidents that have contributed to an increase of deputies on foot and in patrol cars.

"We definitely look at past events and we plan accordingly," said Sgt. Whitehead. "And we make sure we'll have the manpower that we'll need in case we have some type of event like that."

Eroz Bistro wasn't open yet when the First Friday shootings happened, but Debbie Caron and her employees have seen their share of violence.

But Caron says she's noticed the increased security and feels confident in the pumped up security.

"You will see a lot more of the police force here in Augusta," said Caron. "I think it's marvelous. It's made me feel more protected. I feel better for my employees.

And she feels better for everyone enjoying downtown tonight--and every night.

"Know that the police force is here for us," she sai. "We're here! We're strong. And we want you to come see us and feel safe about doing so."

Deputies tell News 12 they hope the increased patrols will help make folks more confident about being safe downtown.

They weren't allowed to give usthe specific number of deputies assigned to protect downtown tonight--but say the increase is significant.


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