Is sheriff’s crackdown making a difference in crime? Here’s what he says
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office and FBI on Wednesday afternoon announced the results of what they’ve dubbed Operation Grace, a three-month crackdown on crime.
While leaders touted it as a success, records show 71 homicides or assaults involving guns were committed between July and August.
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We got the chance to ask Sheriff Richard Roundtree about the recent string of violence.
He said despite the recent incidents of gun violence we experienced in Richmond County, programs like Operation Grace are vital to the overall safety of the public.
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We asked him how he and others plan to reach individuals before the guns and gangs get to them.
“I’ll let the DA answer that,” he said.
Richmond County District Attorney Jared Williams said: “We have a number of programs we have been working through, but we don’t have enough. We have to keep working on this.”
Roundtree said: “Those programs, those efforts we are doing those, but at some point, parents are going to have to take responsibility.”
Roundtree says he has one mission: “Taking these offenders off our streets is one of the keys to making our people and community a safer place.”
Operation Grace was launched in July, about three months into a surge in deadly crimes across the CSRA that’s hit Augusta especially hard.
“These individuals are putting themselves in situations where they are likely to be violent,” he said.
Roundtree is asking for the community to support; not only each other but also law enforcement.
“Support these activities that are helping instead of saying so much and beating down the people who are out there doing it each and every day, laying their lives out there, bashing them because you want to be a social media star,” he said.
Williams says more partnerships are needed and to be proactive in helping with gun and gang violence.
“We spoke to a school, and when I was driving up, I recognized gang activity on one of the cars at the school. What that tells me is if they are in the schools, we have to be in the schools,” he said.
Roundtree said: “We want the citizens to know you do have a voice and a voice that we hear.”
Ironically, as he was holding the news conference, deputies were called to the scene of a suspicious death on Castleton Court off Old Louisville Road.
Surge in slayings
Since mid-April, there’s been a wave of homicides and other sweeping the CSRA.
Although as the largest city, Augusta has been hit especially hard, the crime wave is affecting places large and small.
Here’s a look the homicides and suspicious deaths since mid-April across the CSRA:
- On Sept. 21, a woman was found dead in the 1800 block of Castleton Court on south Augusta. Her death was considered suspicious.
- On Sept. 19, Kameron Tucker, 19 of Augusta, and Kentevios Wageman, 17 of Augusta, were shot dead in the 2500 block of Cascade Drive in Augusta.
- Also on Sept. 19, Eric Foreman, 19, was killed in a shooting that also injured three other people in Swainsboro.
- On Sept. 7, Virginia Sue Wilson, 75, was found shot dead in McDuffie County. Her husband was arrested.
- On Aug. 31, Thomas Arthur Berry, 24, of Grovetown, was found dead in a car at Strom Thurmond Lake in McCormick County. His death is being investigated as a homicide.
- On Aug. 23, overnight security guard Cynthia Wright was found shot dead at 1150 Fifth St. In Augusta. Cornell Thomas was arrested in the death.
- Damien Tanksley, 35, was fatally shot Aug. 4 at the Get-N-Go store on the 2350 block of Windsor Spring Road in Augusta.
- On July 27, 16-year-old Kaymaya Greene of Augusta was shot at the Economy Inn on Deans Bridge Road. She was taken to the hospital and later died from her injuries. Demarcus Clark, 19, of Augusta was arrested.
- On July, 26, Anthony Lee Flowers, 33, was shot at a corner store on Wheeless Road. Frederick McNeal, 62, of Augusta, was arrested.
- On July 20, Keshia Chanel Geter, 36, from Eastover, S.C., was found shot dead at the Knights Inn on Boy Scout Road. Jaquarie Allen, 22, of Augusta, was arrested.
- On July 10, the body of Morris Harden, 58, of Augusta, was found just off the roadway in the 1200 block of Watkins Pond Road in Burke County. Deputies say the case is being treated as a homicide.
- On July 9, Nicholas Jovantay Hall, 31, of Swainsboro, was shot dead on Stokes Avenue in the Emanuel County community of Twin City. Peggy Ann Milton, 34, was arrested.
- On July 5, authorities discovered the body of 65-year-old Bobby Miller, who’d been shot dead in a closet at 5274 Dogwood Drive just outside North Augusta. His son, Jason Glenn Miller, 42, has been arrested.
- On July 2, Barry J. Redding, 39, and Stephan A. Poole, 40, of Aiken, were shot dead at a Days Inn hotel at 2654 Columbia Highway North in Aiken County. The suspect has been identified as Hasheem Keywaun Rond Glover, 20, of Salley.
- On June 30, Thaddeus Rodregus Price, 22, of Augusta, was shot just before 1 a.m. at Sycamore Drive and Alpine Road and pronounced dead on the scene at 2:03 a.m.
- On June 26, a shooting on Wadley Drive in Aiken left three teenagers dead. Two suspects were arrested and another remains at-large in the deaths of 17-year-old Willie L. Garrett IV, 16-year-old Ivan Perry and 16-year-old Cameron Carroll.
- Tammy Mantooth, 57, from Lola, Kansas, was pronounced dead June 23 after being found in the back of a sport utility vehicle at Azalea Park Apartments, 1814 Fayetteville Drive in Augusta. The death is considered suspicious.
- A shooting early June 19 in the 700 block of Broad Street claimed the life of 31-year-old Percy Luther Johnson of Fredericksburg, Va.
- Around 3 a.m. June 18, Trevor Sumpter, 25, of Barnwell, was shot dead in the 200 block of Bomba Street in Barnwell. A suspect has been arrested.
- At 10th and Broad Street in downtown Augusta, a shooting claimed the life of 21-year-old Logan Etterle early June 12. Two suspects have been arrested.
- Also on June 12, Jakwan Gunter, 19, was found shot dead at 11th Avenue and Grand Boulevard. Deputies told News 12 they believe the shooting was gang-related.
- On June 3 in the 100 block of Pelzer Street in Warrenville, 34-year-old Lacey Toole was shot dead by her boyfriend John Williams, who then turned the gun on himself.
- On June 2 on Summerhill Avenue in Aiken County, 37-year-old Yoni Vargas shot his wife, 33-year-old Rosa Salguero-Landaverde, then killed himself.
- On May 29, a shooting killed two people – 17-year-old William Mykell Lowery and 30-year-old Christopher “Scooter” Dunn – at a “Freaknik”-themed party being held at a ballpark outside Sandersville, Ga. The shooting is believed to be the result of an altercation.
- Patricia Dent, 65, was strangled to death by her boyfriend Joseph McKinnon, who then buried her body in their yard at 102 Tanglewood Drive in Trenton, authorities say. They learned of her death on May 7 after finding McKinnon dead of a heart attack he suffered while burying Dent.
- A shooting just before 7:30 p.m. on April 23 claimed the life of Rodriquez Dunn, 31, at the Olmstead Homes in the 2100 block of B Street in Augusta. Dunn suffered at least one gunshot wound and died at the scene.
- On April 19, Brittany Dougherty was found slain outside a vacant home in the 1500 block of Conklin Lane. Her death was considered suspicious from the start, but within hours the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office ruled her death a homicide.
- On April 18, Johnnie Coleman was found shot dead in the 1900 block of Old Savannah Road. Kelvin Lewis, 33, has been arrested as a suspect in the murders of Coleman and Dougherty.
- Jenefer Holt Herron, 52, of Augusta, died late April 18 after being shot during an argument outside the Circle K at 1739 Walton Way in Augusta. Suspect Yelena Buckner, 33, of Augusta, was later found and arrested on charges of murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, deputies reported.
- JaJuan Russell, 21, of Augusta, was fatally shot early April 17 in the 3700 block of Oslo Road in Augusta. Russell was taken to Augusta University Medical Center.
- Sandersville police found the body of Mandell Damonda McCullough, 54, on April 16 inside a home on Gwendolyn Street while responding to a report of a domestic dispute at the address. Santavious Louis Roberts, 35, of Sandersville, was arrested.
- Brandon Peebles, 24, of Girard, was shot around 10:45 p.m. on April 14 in the 2300 block of Prague Court. He was pronounced dead at 11:23 p.m.
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