Authorities work to solve latest violence in Wrens, Augusta

Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 10:55 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 14, 2023 at 7:03 AM EDT
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WRENS, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - A string of violence with young victims isn’t just impacting Richmond County, but smaller communities such as Wrens have also been impacted.

Last month Khia Shields, a 19-year-old from Wrens, was shot and killed in her own home.

A few months before her death, there was also an armed robbery, and last week, an officer shot a suspect with a gun.

But Wrens isn’t the only city working to get more surveillance tech.

In Richmond County, Flock cameras proved useful in catching the man accused in a deadly hit-and-run that killed 21-year-old Zyionna Fields.

They have a plan to build up the number of those cameras around the county.

And in Columbia County recently laid out its plan to add more license plate readers to catch criminals.

In Wrens, Chief of Police John Maynard says authorities are trying to get more security cameras throughout the city. They have a few flock cameras on the highway, but that isn’t enough.

“Things are just kind of getting out of hand. The cameras only cover one major highway, southbound and northbound. The security cameras that we’re looking into are going to cover multiple different streets in the city, multiple different angles, businesses,” he said.

They hope the cameras will do more than just catch someone in the act.

“If you know that the city of Wrens has security cameras in certain locations. It may change people’s minds, maybe we don’t need to do this. And to me, that’s the kind of reputation that I want. I want a reputation to where Wrens is not a place where you can go and do stuff and get away with it,” said Maynard.

They need everyone’s help, but that isn’t always easy.

“That’s difficult to do when you’ve had years and years and years of neglect, so to speak. And when I say neglect, I mean, community and police relations. So you have to first bridge that gap, and build that first before you can build the public trust to where they’ll actually call you when they need something aside from an emergency situation. To where you can build positive relations between law enforcement and community again, so we have to undo what’s been wronged for decades to then rebuild that,” he said.

They say they are working day and night to solve these crimes.

“Don’t lose hope. I mean, I can’t undo, you know, by myself what somebody else has done. I can’t undo the stigma that’s been placed on law enforcement from all across the country. I can only show you my resume and what we’re about and what we do,” said Maynard.

If you know any information on the recent violence, you could get up to $8000 for it.

There is a $3,000 reward for anyone who has information related to Shields’ death, and a $5,000 reward for anyone who has information related to all the shootings in the county.

You can call the tip line at (706) 872-6755 with information and can stay anonymous.