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What’s the plan to curb violence after 8-year-old girl’s killing?

Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 6:55 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - With every life taken by gun violence, calls from family, friends, and neighbors, follow for real change.

Authorities continue to search for the person who killed 8-year-old Arbrie Anthony during a drive-by shooting in Augusta.

On Wednesday, the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office confirmed it found the vehicle linked to the case. However, there have been no arrests yet in her death.

At 7:25 p.m. Saturday, Richmond County deputies responded to the 2000 block of Third Avenue in reference to a shooting. Upon arrival, deputies learned that Anthony had been shot in the front yard of a residence.

She was taken to the hospital by private vehicle, and family members confirmed she passed away.

Deputies believe the shooting was targeted but say the girl likely wasn’t the intended victim.

Three people have been arrested as a result of the investigation, but it’s not clear whether they are related to the case.

We asked city leaders about their solutions to get crime down and truly transform the community.

“Violence, I think it’s an outcry for something. And as leaders, we need to respond to that outcry,” said Francine Scott, commissioner, super district nine.

In the days since Arbrie was killed, the outcries we’ve heard from her community and family are to end the violence.

“My heart has been really heavy since the incident and I’ve been talking to my colleagues about what we can do,” said Scott.

Many of Augusta’s low-income housing neighborhoods have been challenged with crime for years, Magnolia Court was one of them.

Felicia Rhodes has worked at the apartment community center for years as the resource coordinator.

“Things in disarray, people angry, people hurt,” she said. She was here when bulldozers came in.

“It is just a fresh breath of air,” she said.

The renovations came in 2019, with the help of new developers and about $20 million in bonds from the city.

Since then, they haven’t eradicated crime, but it’s dropped significantly.

From job training, government program assistance, and school resources, this community center has become the pulse of Magnolia Court.

“Magnolia is a perfect example of how you transition,” said Rhodes.

Scott says in some ways the city has failed low-income residents

“We might just send them or give them an apartment, but that’s all we do,” she said.

Her goal is to finance resources, parenting classes, school-to-work transition programs, finding ways to fill the gaps and get people out of low-income.

Scott is already in talks with her fellow commissioners about ideas on how to start programming. She says a lot more stakeholders need to be involved including the housing authority, churches, and community leaders to really make improvements.

“We can’t do it emotionally, we have to do it systemically,” said Scott.

Because change can be a good thing.

Rhodes said: “It gave the people a sense of hope.”

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