Niki Watson was more than dismayed when she heard about the fatal shootings of Sergio Campbell and Dontrell Kyler in 2010.
Watson didn’t know them personally, but close friends were relatives of the victims, she said.
Campbell was shot several times in the parking lot of McDonald’s on Deans Bridge Road, and Kyler was killed in a shootout in Cherry Tree Crossing.
They were two of the 38 homicide victims in Richmond County that year.
James Thurmond Daughtie, 26, was convicted in the murder of Kyler and sentenced to 55 years in prison. Harry L. Jones, 21, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the death of Campbell and was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 10 years’ probation.
Though she lives in New York, Watson said she was disappointed over the violence in her hometown.
She decided to do something about it.
Through her nonprofit organization, Future Successors Inc., she organized a Gun Buyback/Peace Day, which will be today at Antioch Baptist Church.
The nonprofit was established to “promote the improvement of America’s Youth for a future success by providing resources and awareness to eliminate poverty and violence within their lives,” said a news release sent out by Watson.
Anyone who turns in an unloaded firearm today – no questions asked – will receive $70 worth of gift cards.
During the course of her research into crime in the Augusta area, she found that many of the victims of violent crime since 2000 have been under the age of 25.
She wants to demonstrate to youths that people in the community do care about them, so she also arranged for representatives of Sizemore Staffing to be on hand to offer job search advice.
“They need guidance,” she said of the community’s young people. “If nobody’s helping them, where are they going to turn? To people who don’t care about them.”