City official discusses the recent uptick in violence at local hotels

Published: Jul. 27, 2022 at 7:25 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - We’ve seen two deadly shootings at Augusta hotels in the last week. The latest, Wednesday morning at the Economy Inn on Deans Bridge Road.

The victim, 16-year-old Kaymaya Green, died just after 6 a.m. The sheriff’s office arrested Demarcus Clark, 19, of Augusta for the murder of Greene.

July 20, Keshia Geter was shot and killed at the Knights Inn on Boy Scout Road. Jaquarie Allen, 22, is charged with murder in her death.

We spoke with the city, and here’s what they say about issues with violence at local hotels.

One commissioner says motels around the area are becoming hotspots for crime. Wednesday’s shooting is the third in three days, the second motel murder within the last seven days.

“When you have a shooting or killing at these motels, it’s no different than it happening in a residential neighborhood,” said District 1 Commissioner Johnson.

Two motel murders within one month is something Commissioner Johnson says should not be normal.

“The big issue here is that these hotels and motels are being used as extended housing and extended stays, and that’s just wrong,” he said.

He says many people who live in motels may not have other housing options.

“I do have a lot of constituents who are living in motels. I had a lady reach out to me about a week ago about staying in a motel because she and her kids had nowhere else to go,” said Johnson.

Johnson spearheads the homeless task force in Richmond County. He feels the conversations need to start with the owners of motels.

“We hope to be able to have a conversation with some of the motel owners about how to keep their properties safe but also have a large-scale conversation about how to house folks who are living there as a housing option,” said Johnson. “At the end of the day, we don’t want to see those establishments close, but we can’t allow these types of issues to continue to happen in these motels on Washington Road and throughout the city.”

We reached out to commissioner Sean Frantom and Bobby Williams about the motel crimes in their district. Frantom told us he was unavailable, and we are still waiting on a response from Williams.

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