Shooting site was one of many spots RCSO was patrolling to curb gun violence

Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019
News 12 at 6 O’Clock/NBC at 7

Two bullet holes mark the spot where Investigator Cecil Ridley was gunned down Tuesday night. (Source: WRDW)

AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW/WAGT) – Just last month, Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree announced they were going at gun violence with a new plan.

It came after a string of crimes involving guns in October.

Part of that plan included more deputies patrolling hot spots. One of those hot spots turned into a crime scene Tuesday night after a Richmond County Sheriff’s Office narcotics officer was gunned down during a “proactive patrol” in search of weapons.

Two bullet holes now mark the spot where Investigator Cecil Ridley died at Augusta Mart.

“This neighborhood hasn’t really changed,” resident Stan said.

Stan has lived in the Laney Walker area of Augusta for 6 years. His community is the target of both criminals and crime initiatives. It's why the sheriff's office started doing what they call "proactive patrols" here.

Ridley's friend and a former investigator himself says patrolling is a double-edged sword. Often it's unwelcomed, but needed.

"You're targeting a certain area or certain neighborhoods because of past crime, you know it's there and the element of surprise is extremely dangerous,” Michael Cardenaz with the JD Paugh Memorial Foundation for Law Enforcement.

Augusta saw 29 killings this year -- many of them in the Laney Walker area. The patrolling initiative's aim is for neighborhoods to lose crime and gangs, but not lives.

Our area saw a 57 percent rise in gun-related crimes this year – half related to gangs and drugs. We’re told Ridley was a big part of the initiative to curb this.

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