NFL player Deon Grant says he is praying for both the victims' families from the massacre in Colorado and from the First Friday shootings. (WRDW-TV / July 20, 2012)
News 12 at 6 o'clock / Friday, July 20, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- A national celebrity with a local connection is weighing in on the Colorado mass shooting and our own recent scare in downtown Augusta.
Super Bowl champion Deon Grant says the recent violence hits too close to home.
Grant says he is praying for all the families here and abroad who have been touched by tragedy.
"I just really pray and hope that people will wise up," he said.
The Colorado shooting comes just weeks after six local people were injured when suspected gang members opened fire at Augusta's First Friday event.
"My prayers definitely [go] to the families of those lost and the ones that were injured," Grant said. "Here for First Friday and also the ones out there in Colorado."
He says he is taking the First Friday news especially hard.
"When situations like that happen, it's a representation of me," said Grant, an Augusta native. "I don't like it at all. I don't care if I'm in New York, if I'm in Aruba, if I'm in Brazil, I walk with that Augusta on my chest."
The New York Giant says the recent mass shootings at home and abroad are sobering.
"It's crazy because when I was young, we went out to have fun," Grant said. "If you did see something like that happen it was because it was an animosity between two individuals, and they made sure they didn't involve anybody else with that."
It is time out for games, Grant says.
"When we go out we have to enjoy one another and realize is it really that serious?" Grant said. "And if it is that serious ... handle it another way."
This all comes from an honor student and electrical engineering major who hopes others will follow his example.
"My whole thing is I was blessed with the ability to play ball, but I used that to my advantage," Grant said. "I knew I was going to go to college and try and get a great degree out of it. If you want to be like me, education is first."
Grant is in town for the unveiling of a new exhibit in his honor at the Augusta Museum of History. The events starts at 7:30 p.m. You also have a chance to win two tickets and VIP access to the Atlanta Falcons and NY Giants game this season in Atlanta.