Augusta high school football shootings: What we know
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - After two shootings within hours at Augusta football games, the Richmond county School District is reviewing changes to security procedures.
Gunfire sent the crowd into a panic Friday night at the Laney-Thomson game. Two people – Roosevelt Demmons, 17, of Thomson, and Santana Mance, 17, of Dearing – were arrested in connection with the mayhem.
Then a shooting Saturday injured two people at a postgame tailgating party at Josey High School. One suspect – Jamel Robinson, 19 – is wanted.
In connection with that incident at Josey, deputies said Monday they’d arrested Marquis Devon Lee, 18, Sunday on suspicion of having a weapon on school grounds. He’s being held in Richmond County jail, according to jail records.
As concerns about the shootings continued to circulate on Monday, the school district issued a statement:
“Richmond County School System Safety and Security are working closely with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office to ensure that our students, families and fans continue to enjoy football games safely. We are also reviewing safety plans for upcoming homecoming activities sponsored by booster clubs and alumni associations to ensure that school alumni and families reconnecting with high school friends during homecoming tailgating activities are gathering with adequate security to help keep them safe.”
The shootings came just a couple of weeks after a gun was discovered at the game between Hephzibah and Laney high schools. Authorities arrested Jahkhi Amir Wimbley, who’s not a student at either school.
An update on the shootings
The shooting at Josey came during what was supposed to be a festive event. Unlike most schools, Josey’s homecoming game was on a Saturday and included a parade and tailgating party.
But after Westside bested Josey 19-2 in the game, things took a violent turn.
An altercation broke out at the tailgate party outside the stadium in the 1700 block of 15th Street, then shots were fired around 5:24 p.m. Two people were injured and sent to a hospital for treatment. We have no word on their condition, but we know the injuries were not fatal.
By Sunday morning, the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office had identified a suspect and put the public on notice to be on the lookout for him.
Suspect Jamel Robinson is wanted on two counts of aggravated assault, possession of a firearm on school grounds and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.
Authorities released a photo of him and described him as 5 feet 4 inches tall, weighing 120 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes.
Anyone with information about him is urged to contact the sheriff’s agency, particularly Investigator Britney Moore at 706-821-4850.
Although school district police responded, the investigation is being handled by the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office.
“Our thoughts are with those affected by the incident,” district spokeswoman Lynthia Ross said in a statement.
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The Saturday shooting came on the heels of panic the night before at the game between Laney and Thomson high schools.
Richmond County deputies said they responded to the scene to help school district police after a fight on the visitors’ side spilled over into the parking lot just after 9 p.m.
Spectators then heard shots from outside the stadium.
Deputies said the shots were fired near the gymnasium. They said a blue Volvo and a white Audi were damaged, and authorities recovered three guns and multiple bullets.
Play was suspended with 6:28 left in the third quarter as Thomson was leading 15-14, then authorities evacuated the stadium and parking lots.
School district police arrested Demmons and Mance.
Both are charged with possession of a firearm or knife during a crime, damage to property, aggravated assault, and weapons in a school building, grounds or function, plus a misdemeanor charge relating to possession of a firearm by a person under 18.
The game between Laney and Thomson has been rescheduled for Oct. 14 at Laney, with no time set yet.
The Richmond County gun incidents come in the wake of new rules across the CSRA – from requiring adult supervision to requiring that items be carried in clear bags.
Richmond and Columbia counties are two places that haven’t announced new rules.
Among the new rules elsewhere:
- In Burke County, children under 14 aren’t allowed in the stadium “unless accompanied by a responsible adult.” Children are to remain with their parents during the game, and parents are asked to escort small children to and from the restrooms and concession area.
- At Allendale-Fairfax High School games, students in eighth grade or below must be accompanied by and stay with a parent or guardian over age 21. Also, all fans must sit in the stands. No one will be allowed to walk or stand around during the game except for going to the restroom and/or the concession stand.
- In McDuffie County – home of the two teens arrested in Friday’s shooting – anyone under 16 must be with an adult, and students must be in their seats unless heading to the restroom or the concession stand. That rule came on the heels of a young man being shot off school property in Thomson.
- Aiken County schools adopted a so-called clear bag policy, meaning most items brought to athletic events must be inside a clear bag. Clear totes cannot be larger than 12 inches by 6 inches, by 12 inches. Small bags or clutches cannot exceed 4.5 inches by 6.5 inches. Clear plastic bags cannot exceed a gallon size.
- Jefferson County also recently updated its rules to require that items brought into stadiums be carried in clear bags only, so the contents will be visible. Also in that district, all patrons must remain seated in the stands during the game.
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