Citing rise in violence, Kemp declares emergency in Georgia

Published: Jul. 6, 2020 at 4:20 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Gov. Brian Kemp has issued an executive order that taps 1,000 Georgia National Guard to help curb violence after a brutal weekend of shootings over the weekend in Atlanta.

The order also issues a state of emergency across the state.

“The irony was that in this place of peace and what should’ve been honor a tribute, turned into deadly violence,” Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said.

In Atlanta, crime skyrocketed with 30 people shot and five dead. One of those victims is 8-year-old Secoroea Turner.

The Georgia Department of Public Safety headquarters was also vandalized after nearly 100 rioters tried to set it on fire.

Kemp ordered up to 1,000 troops with the Guard to be deployed across the state, tweeting: “This recent trend of lawlessness is outrageous and unacceptable.”

Kemp says once peaceful protests are being hijacked by “criminals with a dangerous, destructive agenda.”

“This lawlessness must be stopped and order restored in our capital city,” Kemp said. “I have declared a State of Emergency and called up the Georgia Guard because the safety of our citizens comes first. This measure will allow troops to protect state property and dispatch state law enforcement officers to patrol our streets. Enough with the tough talk. We must protect the lives and livelihoods of all Georgians.”

Kemp’s order looks to provide support at state buildings with the guardsmen, allowing state personnel to increase patrols on roadways and communities around the state.

The July Fourth holiday weekend saw as many as 30 state residents wounded by gunfire, according to Kemp.

Here at home, seven people were injured and two killed after a string of shooting and stabbings in Aiken, Richmond, and Barnwell counties. Three of the four incidents were characterized as domestic.

“In Atlanta, I was obviously stunned about what had happened. I will say the violence we did have in Augusta thankfully; we had no homicides. We did have some domestic incidents that resulted in some violent behavior,” District Attorney Natalie Paine, said.

Paine says we’re seeing another uptick in crime after a huge plunge.

In Richmond County, violent crime dropped 50% during March and April compared to last year and overall crime plunged 25% during the “stay-at-home” order.

Deputies say they can't be sure whether the spike is related to the relaxation of coronavirus restrictions.

Paine says relaxed restrictions combined with the hot weather and holiday weekend may have led to the spike.

Meanwhile, Kemp’s office says troops could be deployed to any region across the state if necessary. News 12 asked if there are any plans to send troops to our area. We are waiting for a response.

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