Sheriff Roundtree responds to recent deadly shootings in Augusta

Published: Aug. 23, 2022 at 7:43 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Another deadly shooting on Fifth Street in Augusta pushed the total to three in four days.

The coroner says Tuesday morning’s victim is Cynthia Wright. Deputies say they found her near the Union Agener Animal Health Distribution Center with a gunshot wound around 6 a.m.

We’re told she died hours later. Right now, deputies say no one has been arrested.

While deputies haven’t mentioned whether there is any connection, we’ve now had four deadly shootings in public places, like gas stations or outside businesses, since July in Augusta.

Data we got from the sheriff’s agency shows July was the worst month for shootings and homicides in the past five years.

Sheriff Richard Roundtree responds that violent crime can happen anywhere within our city, which he attributes mainly to a growing population within the past 10 years and a rise in unkept firearms.

Moving forward, he’s asking for the community’s help to combat gun violence.

“The gun violence and the homicide rate is up all over the nation. This is not an Augusta trend. This is something happening nationwide,” he said.

Within the past five years, Augusta is set to hit some records. Last year we saw a total of 305 combined homicide and aggravated assault with gun cases, an average of just over 25 a month.

This year, 225 so far, an average of just over 28.

“As that grows, unfortunately, crime follows growth in certain cities,” said Roundtree. “Violent crime can happen anywhere. There is no such place in the city that violent crime can not happen.”

Based on 2019 FBI data, CBS News ranks Augusta as the 32nd most dangerous city in America based on the number of shootings per capita.

The sheriff currently has forces in the worst hotspots and high-tech cameras, but says they can’t be everywhere at once.

“We’re always concerned about the gun violence we’re having within our community,” he said.

The sheriff says the best way to combat this is by being accountable of firearms.

“Even the securing of weapons within your home, or car, can lead to a reduction in the violent crimes in this city and that’s what we’re trying to get our public to understand that it has to be a community effort and not just strictly a law enforcement effort,” he said.

Augusta shootings

The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of gunshots at the Circle K gas station at 2574 Tobacco Road on Sunday.

When deputies got to the scene, they found a man who had been shot at least one time. The victim was taken to Augusta University Medical Center and later died from his injuries at 12:50 p.m.

The Richmond County Coroner’s Office identified the victim as 48-year-old Samuel DeWayne Jackson, of the 100 block of Telfair Street.

Deputies said they arrested and charged Donald Gross, 61, on suspicion of murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of the crime.

And another shooting on Saturday took place at a home in the 100 block of Vanderbilt Circle just before 2:45 a.m.

When deputies got to the scene, they found one man dead with a gunshot wound. He was identified as 29-year-old Nakendrick Dewayne Glover of the 2400 block of Amsterdam Drive.

There’s no word on whether a suspect has been arrested in the investigation.

Fatal fight in Columbia County

On Monday afternoon, deputies were sent to investigate a report of a fight in progress at 206 Evans Lake Drive.

When deputies arrived, they found 61-year-old Howard Winning unresponsive in the bathroom. He was ultimately pronounced dead.

Anthony Burns, 41, was taken into custody. Burns has been charged with murder and was held with no bond, according to deputies.

A deadly spring and summer

The CSRA has been enduring an outbreak of deadly crimes since at least mid-April. About 30 people have been slain or found dead under suspicious circumstances in communities large and small.

Among the cases: