Murders in Augusta, increase in gun violence this summer worries

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The homicide rate in Richmond County so far this year has surpassed the homicide rate in 2021 at the same time.

In 2022, 23 murders have been committed in Richmond County so far. Last year there were 19 murders in the province.

The latest shooting in Richmond County, which happened less than 24 hours apart, killed two people this week.

Anthony Lee Flowers, 33, was shot and killed outside the C Corner Convenience Store on Wheeless Road Tuesday morning. Less than 24 hours later, Kaymaya Greene, 16, was shot dead at the Economy Inn on Deans Bridge Road.

Traci George, leader of March for Our Lives CSRA, said she is “hugely concerned” about the ongoing crime wave in Augusta. She is also waiting for answers.

District 1 Commissioner Jordan Johnson posted on Facebook stating that he was meeting with Mayor Hardie Davis Jr. on June 14. and Sheriff Richard Roundtree to discuss gun violence after two men were killed in shootings within hours of each other on June 12.

“I can tell you that in the coming weeks, we will take the time to explore how we can be more mindful about saving our children,” Johnson wrote.

No announcement has been made since then.

“I wonder if the action plan that the mayor, sheriff and commissioner wanted to present is ready as more lives are lost every week while we wait,” George said. “As the saying goes, madness is doing the same thing and expecting a different result.”

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According to 2019 United States Crime data from the FBI, the Augusta metro area, which includes Richmond, Burke, Columbia, Lincoln, McDuffie, Aiken, and Edgefield counties, has a relatively high homicide and homicide rate for its size: eight in every 100,000 people. In comparison, Raleigh-Durham, which has about the same population as Augusta, had a rate of 7.3 per 100,000, and the Daytona Beach subway had 4.3.

Officials say little about crime wave

Requests from government and law enforcement officials for a response to the recent wave of violence have been met with reservations.

Mayor Hardie Davis Jr. announced last week that information would be released about the manufacturers of weapons used in violent crimes. A copy of those comments was not provided upon request. Instead, Davis’ legislative assistant, Keona Shaw, said in an email that “we are still evaluating the data and will share our findings once the review is complete,” she wrote.

In an email to The Augusta Chronicle on Wednesday, Johnson said data is being collected so that officials have an accurate record of what is happening in the community, but offer no details.

“The main takeaway here is that while law enforcement officers are involved in this conversation, their job is to enforce the law,” Johnson wrote.

Johnson said he had met with community leaders about the issue.

“We must continue to identify opportunities for people to have access to a decent quality of life. That means advocating for vocational skills programs, mentorship and other programs to help improve people’s lives.”

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The Augusta Chronicle requested an interview with Roundtree to discuss concerns about gun violence in the city, but the request was denied.

“Unfortunately, according to the sheriff, we will not be interviewing on this subject,” was the reply.

Previous wave linked to gang activity

This is not the first spike in homicides in 2022. In the spring, five people were killed in shootings in five days. Shortly after, Sheriff Roundtree announced that “at least two of the shootings” were victims of gang violence.

Roundtree said “selected enforcement actions” would be taken to address gun violence and drug trafficking.

“This includes proactive teams conducting operations in areas recently affected by gang activity and other known areas of high crime. Deputies will also carry out roadside checks in certain areas,” he said at a news conference on April 19.

Multiple arrests have been made since then, including 29 at checkpoints over the July 4 holiday weekend. They also seized 11 guns, 6 pounds of marijuana, 67 ounces of meth, and 128 oxycodone pills. There was another drug bust last week.

Marcell Antonio Blackwell, 42, was arrested and charged with drug trafficking. Police seized vehicles, trailers, $88,000 in cash and large quantities of marijuana, cocaine and MDMA.

Nevertheless, the violence continues.

Murders in the past two months

  • on June 12, Logan EtterleaThe 21-year-old was shot at 10th and Broad Street and pronounced dead at 2:56 am. Keyon Smiley and D’Andre Tandy were charged in connection with the murder.

  • on June 12, Jakwan Gunter, 19, was shot at the intersection of 11th Avenue and Grand Boulevard. He was pronounced dead at the scene at 4:03 a.m.

  • on June 14, Eurl Kittles, 42, was shot and killed in a shooting at Captain D’s restaurant on 3100 block of Wrightsboro Road. Ravanell Gomillion, 40, was arrested in connection with the murder.

  • on June 19, Percy Luther Johnson, 31, was shot and killed on the 700 block of Broad Street. He was pronounced dead at 2:43 am

  • on June 30, Thaddeus Rodregus Price22, was killed just before 1 a.m. in a shooting on Sycamore Drive and Alpine Road.

  • On July 20, a transgender woman, Keshia Chanel Geter, 26, was shot and killed at the Knights Inn model on Boy Scout Road. Jaquarie Allen, 22, is charged with murder and firearms possession while committing a crime related to her death.

  • on July 26, Anthony Lee Flowers, 33, was shot dead outside C Corner Convenience Store on Wheeless Road. He was taken to Augusta University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 11:17 a.m.

  • on July 27, Kaymaya Greene, 16, was shot dead at the Economy Inn on Deans Bridge Road. Demarcus Clark, 19, of Augusta, is charged with Greene’s murder and possession of a firearm while committing a felony.

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Contents Coach Sea Stachura contributed to this report.

This article originally appeared on Augusta Chronicle: Augusta Murders, Increase in Gun Violence This Summer Causes Concern