Richmond County eyes safety plans for clubs after recent deadly shootings

Monday, Jan. 13, 2020
News 12 at 6 O’Clock/NBC at 7

Picture: MGN

RICHMOND COUNTY, GA (WRDW/WAGT) – The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office is making changes after another club shooting.

Over the weekend, 20-year-old Traquan Salley was killed at Club Viral. Deputies say it could be gang-related.

So, what’s the plan? Well, it’s complicated. Clubs-- like Club Viral-- are spread out across Richmond County.

Over the past year, many are dealing with the same issues – violence. But stopping it isn’t easy, because the story is almost never the same.

“People just take the attitude of, ‘Well, they always have shootings,’” Chief Patrick Clayton said. “We don’t take that attitude.”

Clayton says his deputies are taking an aggressive approach. It starts with the club and their security measures.

“What kind of screening procedures did the club have there for the people? Because the shooting actually started in the club,” Clayton said.

So clubs in the county – just like downtown – will have to send in security plans.

"If the patrons at the bars would not get involved in these and try to crowd around and run to 'em and things like that, that would help out as well,” Clayton said.

The other option is to take away the club’s license, which the sheriff’s office is recommending Augusta-Richmond County Commission do with Private I – another club where two people were recently gunned down.

“I don’t see closing them down simply because somebody got shot in it,” Commissioner Dennis Williams said. “If that’s the case, we may not have no clubs at all.”

Williams says the city needs to be fair to owners and keep deputies around.

"When a young person sees there's good supervision, police services available and things like that, they may have a tendency of cutting down the activity,” Williams said.

But the activity is too common, turning a place meant for fun into violence.

The sheriff's office says a lot of the incidents happen as people leave the clubs, so they will be doing proactive patrols around closing time to get people to their cars safely.

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