What’s behind the spike in shootings across CSRA?
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - It’s been a violent past few days, with several shootings since Friday, three of them deadly.
It follows a wave of violence earlier this month where two people died and eight people were shot and another stabbed.
The number of shootings seems to be high, but with 2020 being such a strange year, is crime just going back to how it was before the pandemic?
Crime isn’t just going back to how it was before the pandemic. It’s actually way higher.
In Richmond County we’ve seen almost as many shootings in five months this year as we did in all of 2019. We spoke to a Richmond County Sheriff’s deputy, and he believes its because the restrictions are easing.
“I think everybody’s been pent up for so long, now people have gotten out, people are becoming a little bit more excitable,” said Chief Deputy Patrick Clayton, Richmond County Sheriff’s Office.
Clayton has watched the number of shootings in Richmond County skyrocket. In 2019 and 2020 there were about 200 shootings each year. This year we’ve almost reached that number already in just five months.
“Good analogy is like on inflation. When you have pent up demand, all of a sudden it’s wide open again, you’re gonna have like inflation, same kind of principle,” he said.
Clayton expects this surge to continue throughout the summer.
“I think what you’re gonna see is especially probably through the summer months it will be kind of high and then you’ll see it start to level out,” he said.
He says one of the keys to bringing down the number of shootings is to find and recover stolen weapons.
“When they know people are carrying firearms, they need to let us know, the more firearms we can get off the street, the less chances you’re gonna have of people shooting each other,” he said.
We also requested shooting data from the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office. They say they were unable to provide updated numbers.
How flare-up in violence has unfolded
- At least 50 gunshots were fired early Friday in the area of Lawana Drive in Gloverville, with two houses struck. It came exactly a week after another shooting at the same house sent 21-year-old Tyrese Washington to a hospital.
- Barbara Williams, 45, and Jerome Williams Jr., 26, who were killed at their home at 160 Halford St. in Williston. Brandon Antonio Williams, 28, of Barnwell County, was charged with two counts of murder.
- Ira Green, 58, of Blythe, was fatally shot in the 2300 block of Cougar Drive Augusta, although authorities ultimately ruled it an act of self-defense because he was brandishing a gun.
- Deputies responded early in the morning to the 1700 block of Tamarind Way in Augusta, where one gunshot victim was struck in the right leg multiple times. Officials now say Ray Streetman, 24, is wanted for questioning in reference to the incident.
- Dexter Sullivan, 26, was fatally shot around 1:23 p.m. in the 500 block of Iris Lane in Aiken County. Investigators said Monday they arrested Aaron Azeem Williams, 34.
- Two men were injured around 6:51 p.m. Monday in a drive-by shooting at 1337 Hampton Ave. NW in Aiken County. Both gunshot victims were taken to an area hospital in stable condition.
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