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Augusta shooting continues wave of violent crime that sparked state of emergency

Published: Jul. 7, 2020 at 10:41 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - A shooting in Augusta continued a wave of violent crime that’s swept the region and that reached a tipping point over the July Fourth weekend.

The latest shooting was reported to the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office at 10:01 p.m. Tuesday in Augusta.

One person suffered a gunshot wound at 2706 Blossom Drive in Augusta, according to authorities.

The incident follows several shootings over the weekend in the CSRA, including two that caused injuries during domestic disputes in Augusta, a murder-suicide that left two dead in Salley, S.C., and a shooting that injured five people outside a house party in Barnwell County, S.C.

After those incidents and others in Georgia that included the death of an 8-year-old girl in Atlanta, as well as the storming of the state Department of Public Safety headquarters, Gov. Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency and activated up to 1,000 National Guard troops to help law enforcement officers in the state.

Kemp’s office said Monday afternoon that after “weeks of dramatically increased violent crime and property destruction” in Atlanta and more than 30 Georgians being wounded by gunfire and at least five killed over the July Fourth weekend, he had issued Executive Order 07.06.20.01, which declares a state of emergency across Georgia and authorizes the activation of as many as 1,000 Georgia National Guard troops.

Among those dead in Atlanta were an 8-year-old girl who was shot Saturday night near the burnt-out Wendy’s where Rayshard Brooks died.

“This lawlessness must be stopped and order restored in our capital city,” Kemp said in a statement.

In addition to the incidents in Georgia, a nightclub shooting in Greenville, S.C., left two people dead and eight injured. Authorities said the incident that appeared to be gang-related and possibly involving perpetrators from Atlanta. Authorities have made one arrest in the incident at the Lavish Lounge, which was not supposed to be open, as South Carolina has restrictions on large gatherings.

Violent weekend in the CSRA

Richmond County is seeing an increase in crime, which had plunged at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. It comes after violent crime had dropped 50% during March and April compared to last year, and overall crime plunged 25% during the stay-at-home order.

Here’s a look at the weekend’s incidents in our area:

  • At 8:50 p.m. Sunday, the Aiken County Coroner’s Office was called to two homes on Maple Street in Salley regarding a shooting incident involving fatalities. Thembi Chalmers, 43, who lives at 227 Maple St., was pronounced dead in the home from a gunshot wound. The suspect, Chalmers’ boyfriend, Levi Bonnett, 45, who lived in the home, walked to 210 Maple St., where he killed himself, according to Coroner Darryl Ables. A domestic dispute between the two is believed to have led up to the shooting.
  • In Augusta, a shooting involving a domestic incident was reported at 7:17 p.m. Sunday in the 3600 block of Goldfinch Drive, according to authorities. Upon arrival, a deputy spoke with Erica Davis, 29, who didn’t wish to speak to officers and was uncooperative at the time of the call, according to authorities. She was detained pending further information, according to authorities. The victim was a 30-year-old man found near Meadowbrook and Sturnidae drives with an apparent gunshot wound to his arm and side, authorities reported. While the deputy was trying to verify information, Davis made several spontaneous utterances about the incident “and stated she accidentally shot the victim while they were involved in a verbal/physical altercation,” the deputy wrote. Davis was arrested on suspicion of possession of a firearm or knife during a crime and aggravated assault, according to authorities.
  • In a separate domestic incident in Augusta, one person was taken to a hospital with injuries suffered in a shooting just before 8 p.m. Sunday. After arriving at the crime scene in the 3600 block of Massoit Drive, a deputy found the victim, a 33-year-old man, on the floor in the rear bedroom of the residence. The victim said he had gotten into an altercation with someone and had been shot in the back of the right leg. The deputy applied a tourniquet before an ambulance arrived and took the victim to a hospital. Authorities have arrested Jarvis Bonner, 20, after seeking him on suspicion of aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime in connection with the incident.
  • Also in Augusta, Richmond County deputies are looking for a woman suspected of aggravated assault in connection with a stabbing that happened Sunday on B Street near Broad Street and Milledge Road. Shawnkuri Walker is wanted on suspicion of aggravated assault and possession of a knife. She is described as 20 years old, 5 feet 2 inches tall, weighing 116 pounds, with black hair colored red, and brown eyes. Anyone with information about her is asked to call Sgt. James Tredore at 706-821-1035.
  • Elsewhere in the CSRA, five people were sent to a hospital after a shooting Saturday night outside a house party in the Red Oak community of Barnwell County. Most of the five victims were teenagers, according to authorities.

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