'It was chaos’: Violent weekend in Sparta spurs calls for a change

Published: Sep. 8, 2020 at 6:24 PM EDT
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SPARTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - A flower marks where neighbors found a body following a shooting in Sparta on Sunday. Little did any of the residents know that eight people would be injured that weekend, and two would die.

“We saw from a distance that people were gathering around that spot right there,” Stanley Jones said.

Jones has lived in the neighborhood in Sparta for 54 years. When he and his wife were sleeping Sunday night, he was woken up by the commotion outside.

“We woke up to a range of gunfire. Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. Constant gunfire,” he said. “It was chaos. It was pandemonium, man.”

For a man who’s lived here his whole life, this was much different than the way he remembers handling conflict.

“Back in the day when you have a dispute with a man you bring it up to him, we fight a little bit. The next day, we kiss and hug. But right now, it’s all shooting and killing,” Jones said.

Jones' brother, Charles Jones lives just a few doors down. He’s the former principal at Hancock Central High School.

“It’s tragic for our communities. It’s nothing that ever happened before. This is a very peaceful community,” Charles said.

Both brothers say they applaud the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office’s response, but the community needs to step up, as well.

“We appreciate them, but we can’t just depend on them. We’ve got to be there with them,” Charles said.

“We have to go back and reshuffle the deck and find out where this root cause came from,” Stanley said.

“Begin communicating. We had family reunions where everybody got together in their community. We need to get back to that style,” Charles said.

Of the other victims taken to the hospital, at least two are in critical condition. The Jones brothers hope this doesn’t become a trend, because they don’t want to see any more of this chaos in their neighborhood.

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