RCSO working to cut down on gang problem in Augusta

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News 12 at 6 o'clock / Thursday, June 13, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- It's been a week since deputies say a known gang member murdered Larry Elam in the Augusta Estates mobile home park.

Ronald Gordon lives across from Augusta Estates, and he was shocked to hear about a possible gang murder so close to home.

"They want to kill somebody over a bandana, a color? That doesn't make any sense," he said.

Witnesses say an argument started when Elam pointed out a red bandana in Darrian Williams' pocket. That's when deputies say Williams shot and killed Elam.

Nisha, who lives in Augusta Estates, says, "There's violence all over Augusta."

But deputies say one troubling source of violence is becoming a bigger problem in Augusta: gangs.

Sgt. Shane McDaniel with the Richmond County Sheriff's Office says, "It's obvious we've got these young teenagers, or older teenagers, that are affiliated with gangs."

Nisha says violence and gangs in the area are a big concern.

"Of course we're worried. You don't want your child or family to be hurt, so, of course, it's a concern for everyone," she said.

Not only are deputies seeing local gangs form, they're also seeing suspicious activity that mirrors national gangs like the Bloods and the Crips.

"The community is bringing to our attention, teaching us a lot of stuff. Teaching us who's doing what, what they're wearing, their street names, their gang names," McDaniel said.

It's unsettling news for people like Gordon, who has a message for kids who may be thinking about joining up.

"Just stop and think about what you're doing before you do it, 'cause it's not worth it. You'll spend a lot of time in jail that's not necessary," he said.

Deputies say with their new community policing approach, they're trying to make sure the community trusts them enough to tell them insider information about gangs.

But they say they can't do it alone. If you see activity that could be gang related, they say to call the Sheriff's Office and report it.

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