CSRA copes with new spike in violence: 3 slayings in 24 hours

Here's a look at the situation after the CSRA experienced three homicides some other violent crimes within 24 hours.
Published: Jun. 29, 2021 at 5:47 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 30, 2021 at 12:19 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - As we reach the midpoint of summer, violent crimes in the CSRA are surging with the temperatures as residents endure a new wave of slayings.

There have been three homicides in the past 24 hours, claiming lives on both sides of the Savannah River.

The region had seen some relative calm in recent days after experiencing a string of shootings earlier this month as violence stretched across the two-state region and into the rest of the country as summer began. During that time, law enforcement blamed the easing of COVID-19 restrictions led to people becoming “more excitable” after being pent up during the pandemic in 2020.

Authorities worried the spike in violent crime could continue into the summer and become a reversal the decline of these crimes.

And that seems to be happening just as we head into the Fourth of July holiday weekend:

A candlelight vigil is held June 28, 2021, in McCormick in memory of shooting victim Samuel...
A candlelight vigil is held June 28, 2021, in McCormick in memory of shooting victim Samuel Isiah Morgan. Morgan is among the latest victims in a surge in CSRA homicides.(WRDW)

If it seems like crime is higher lately in the CSRA, that’s because it is.

Law enforcement agencies told News 12 about a month ago that crime isn’t just going back to the level it was before the pandemic; it’s actually far higher.

Richmond County saw nearly as many shootings in the first five months of 2021 as in all of 2019, authorities told News 12 — and since those officers spoke to us, we’ve seen even more slayings. Richmond County Chief Deputy Patrick Clayton told us then that he expected a surge in violent crime to continue throughout the summer.

The rising crime hasn’t been unique to the CSRA.

Most violent crimes across the U.S. plummeted during the first six months of the coronavirus pandemic as people stayed indoors and away from others, then started creeping up last summer. Homicides and shootings are up from the same period last year in Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Baltimore, Houston and elsewhere.

The surge even prompted President Joe Biden to give an address last Wednesday outlining a plan to provide money to cities that need more police, offer community support and crack down on gun violence and those supplying illegal firearms, although Republicans quickly tried to portray his measures as government overreach.

“These merchants of death are breaking the law for profit,” Biden said. “If you willfully sell a gun to someone who’s prohibited, my message to you is this: We’ll find you and we’ll seek your license to sell guns. We’ll make sure you can’t sell death and mayhem on our streets.”

From reports by WRDW/WAGT and The Associated Press