Sheriff Roundtree talks community violence prevention

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News 12 at 11 o'clock / Wednesday, June 6, 2013

HEPHZIBAH, Ga. (WRDW) -- "They believed in me, and unfortunately, it was a heinous crime that took their lives and the lives of their son," said Commissioner Alvin Mason.

Commissioner Mason is talking about the lives of three family members -- Roosevelt and Edna Jones and their son, Russell Jones -- who killed in a triple homicide last month.

"They were my neighbors for 12 years," he explained.

Their deaths prompted Mason to call a town hall meeting at the Diamond Lakes Community Center, barely a mile from where firefighters found the bodies.

"When you look at the brawl that happened downtown ... when you think about the beatings and the muggings in an area like the Riverwalk ... we can't continue to go on in this situation," he said.

The featured speaker, Sheriff Richard Roundtree, took questions and talked about how the community should work with law enforcement.

"I have to motivate you, the citizens, to take part in your community," Roundtree said.

Bill Tippins, who's lived in Augusta for six years, agrees.

"People within the community have to get off their butt and do their part, and that way the Sheriff's will come and do their part," Tippins said.

Born and raised in Augusta, Adrian Wright also says it's the community's responsibility to work together with law enforcement.

"We have to let people know what's going on, help save lives and kind of bridge the gap," she said.

Both Tippins and Wright are just hoping these meetings will help cut down on crime near their homes.

"Be proactive," Wright said. "If you have information that they can use -- as far as somebody getting hurt -- I urge you to tell."

"You have to keep your eyes open," Tippins said. "That's if you want to be in a good community."

Another main topic in the meeting was mental health, which could be a big part of the Jones family's case as it moves through the legal system.

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