Who’s behind local crime wave — and who are the victims?
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - A violent start to the new year, at least 13 violent crimes, just in the last month.
We’re tracking a string of violent crimes across Richmond County, and the demand to see a real change in our communities.
“It’s come to a point, we need to stop pointing fingers at each other and join together and say look this is affecting our community our next generation of individuals and how are we going to step up and do our part,” said Sheriff Richard Roundtree.
Roundtree is calling on people to join deputies in their fight to end violence on our streets.
Since Dec. 31, News 12 has reported four armed robberies in Augusta. We’ve also seen one stabbing and eight shootings. Four of those shootings were deadly, five people lost their lives.
In a disheartening trend, three of those five victims were under the age of 21.
Roundtree tells us the change needs to start at home.
He says you need to take that next step, hold your own accountable, remind them that these types of activities will not be tolerated under your roof or in our community. The lack of accountability is part of what’s creating what Roundtree calls a generational trend.
“These acts of violence are being perpetrated mostly in African American communities and mostly by African American individuals especially young male African American individuals and that’s extremely disheartening,” he said.
In fact, as of right now, all but one of the suspects in this string of crimes are black males under the age of 25.
“What are we doing in our African American communities to stop our African American young boys to stop killing each other. That is truly an issue here and that is something that has to be said and something that has to be addressed,” said Roundtree.
He points out, it’s not so much what we are doing but more of what we aren’t. He says he’s booking people now whose father’s, brother’s, uncle’s and cousins who have been incarcerated over the past few decades.
“This is a cultural and generational problem that just law enforcement itself is not going to be able to tackle it alone it’s going to take the combined resources of the community,” he said.
The sheriff’s agency has a community service division, they’re starting a citizen police academy, are working overtime to make sure enough deputies are out patrolling where they’re most needed. But they can only do so much.
“If the government is not offering those resources it makes it very difficult for law enforcement because one of the only tools, we have is incarceration and incarceration is not rehabilitation,” Roundtree said.
We spoke with Augusta Commission member Dennis Williams who agrees. He’s working with the public safety committee to improve things.
Williams, commissioner for District 2, said: “We have to motivate our young people to get involved in professions that would not only be a benefit to them but to the community.”
Williams says these topics are not on the commission agenda just yet, but hopefully will be soon.
A wave of shootings
Among the latest violence was a shooting early Sunday at Club 706, 2632 Deans Bridge Road, that injured three people and left one dead.
That happened two days after a Johndrick Oliphant, 19, was found shot dead in the middle of the 4200 block of Stone Road.
The year had a violent start, with an injury shooting in a domestic disturbance on New Year’s Eve on Ramsgate Road near Wheeler and Aumond Road.
Then on Jan. 8, Arbrie Anthony, 8, was shot and killed in her front yard during a drive-by shooting. Suspect Antoine Redfield has been arrested in connection with the case.
The following day, at 1:04 a.m., two people shot in their car at Gordon Highway and Wilkinson Road. There were no serious injuries.
The next evening, two men were shot on Fenwick Street, one of those was serious.
Then there was a four-day lull until a double homicide on Hammond Avenue near Peach Orchard Road. Two women were shot and killed, and a third was taken to the hospital.
Almost 10 days later, there was an aggravated assault and armed robbery on Gordon Highway near North Leg Road. On Jan. 23, suspect Brian Moss was considered wanted, armed and dangerous.
If you have any information on any of these crimes, call 706-821-1000.
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