Guns Down, Shoot for Success: Local mom turns the table on violence

After losing five family members to gun violence, she can’t help but wonder if her son is next.
Published: May. 1, 2023 at 10:49 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Augusta is seeing an uptick in gun violence.

Last week, someone shot 24-year-old Usaini Yunusa in his car. A few weeks ago, someone shot and killed 15-year-old Zaire Person in a drive-by shooting.

In March, a suspect shot 13-year-old Buddy Brown in the head, killing him as he tried to pick up a DoorDash delivery.

We spoke with a local woman who lost her fifth family member to gun violence, and she is calling for action. For 10 years, Sheriff Richard Roundtree says the victims and the ones pulling the trigger are getting younger, which has become the breaking point for one activist.

“Will he be able to come home when he gets shot? Will he go to jail? I’m just afraid,” said Renza Yarbrough-Bing.

After losing five family members to gun violence, she can’t help but wonder if her son is next.

“He just went to his junior prom, and I want to celebrate him becoming a man so badly, but I can’t. It’s like I’m afraid to even release him,” she said.

Over the last year in Richmond County alone, there have been at least 44 homicides, almost all of them shootings.

Seventy percent of the victims were male.

“Everybody is not raised in a home that is structured. You can’t say it starts in the home. It starts in the community,” she said.

These numbers are the driving force behind starting her nonprofit.

“The foundation is not totally based on gun violence. We’re based on trade skills. We are revamping and looking at other things that we can offer them,” said Yarbrough-Bing.

She is preparing for her second annual “Guns Down, Shoot for Success” to connect young people with jobs and resources other than guns. It will happen in September. Something she is hoping will be more than just a once-a-year thing.

“We’ll have speakers to come in. We’ll have counselors and social workers,” she said.

As well as a place where people can drop off weapons.

“No ties. Bring guns and ammunition in, and we won’t ask you any questions. Safely put it in the box,” said Yarbrough-Bing

In pursuit of a better and safer Augusta.

“We just have to get out and speak to people and teach them because when you know better, you do better. But if your whole family is doing the same thing that you’re doing, you don’t see anything wrong with it until it’s too late,” she said.