Amid wave of violence, many in Augusta hope for change

Published: Jan. 31, 2022 at 6:41 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Even with the recent violence, Sheriff Richard Roundtree says Augusta is not an unsafe place to live.

We know the crime has many of you concerned about you and your family’s safety. We talked to neighbors who say they hope this serves as a wake-up call.

“Drop the guns,” said Traci George, community advocate.

One month, at least eight shootings. People in the community say something has to change.

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.

A ‘senseless’ string of violence

Wendell Morgan community advocate said: “A lot of the killings have been senseless.”

Jadin West, a concerned citizen, said: “It’s heartbreaking, really heartbreaking.”

People say the bigger issue is how guns are being used in the city.

It’s not the guns that are killing the folks it’s the people that have the guns and illegal guns,” said Morgan.

Camethia West, concerned mother said: “It’s the fact the guns are in the community and are getting into the wrong hands.”

Some say accountability and coming together on common ground is what we need.

Jeremiah Simpson, a concerned citizen said: “Far as us being a community and sticking together like we all we got, you know what I’m saying. The only way Augusta gone be great is that we make it great.”

“Most of them don’t realize when you take a life that’s not something you have partly given so you can’t give it back,” said West.

Community advocates want a cease-fire and to challenge others to take a stand.

“Let’s just drop the guns for the next 28 days let’s celebrate Black History Month that way,” said George.

“If we can come together on some stuff and they see us instead of seeing the police all the time let’s do it ourselves. We don’t have to wait on them to fix it, we can fix it ourselves,” said Simpson.

Jo Kimbl, a concerned citizen said: “We talk about how life is so important, but if life is so important why are you killing?”

If anyone knows anything about these recent crimes, don’t be afraid to speak out. Call 706-821-1000.

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