First Friday shooting victims tell their stories

Brittany Moore (right), 14, with her cousin, 17-year-old Ashely Fibert. Both were on Broad Street when a shooter opened fire Friday night. Moore was hit in the leg.

 

Brittany Moore remembers hearing two men arguing about a red shirt before shots rang out on Broad Street.

“We heard the word ‘Kings’ and then gunshots,” the 14-year-old said Sunday.

Another victim remembered two large groups of people arguing.

Authorities have not said whether Fri­day’s shooting could be gang-related. But Capt. Scott Gay said Sunday he thinks it was, but with no known relation to a group called Kings.

About 11:30 p.m. Friday, police said one shooter opened fire in the 900 block of Broad Street, hitting six people.

Authorities are still working to identify and arrest the shooter. Richmond County sheriff’s deputies brought in people for questioning Friday night but have said some of the witnesses were not cooperating.

Moore, a high school freshman from South Carolina, was downtown for her first First Friday when she heard shots and started running with the crowd. She felt something on her leg but did not realize she had been shot until she saw the blood. When she and her cousin, Ashley Fibert, 17, ran around a corner they saw a police car. Moore and Fibert hobbled over to it, but it was empty.

Moore saw two officers in the middle of the street. She shuffled her way toward them.

“They told me to get out of the road,” she said.

A woman driving by saw her bleeding and had her two children get out of the car and put Moore in it. The woman dug some rags out of her backseat and applied pressure to Moore’s bullet wound, directly under her right knee.

Another deputy approached and asked what happened.

“I told him I had been shot. He just walked away,” Moore said.

When an ambulance arrived, Moore was taken to Medical College of Georgia Hospital with another victim.

“We were so scared,” Fibert said. “She was shot from behind. We didn’t even see the shooter.”

Devon Bullard, 22, was trying to go home when he was shot.

“I was just walking, just trying to get back to my car and go,” he said.

Bullard said he passed the two arguing groups just before the shots rang out. A bullet presumably meant for someone in that crowd flew through the back of Bullard’s thigh and went cleanly through the front.

“It didn’t hurt at first. I didn’t feel anything, I was just trying to run down the street,” Bullard said. “I felt it later, though.”

Bullard said he ran into police officers, realized he was shot, and was taken by ambulance to MCG Hospital. He was released Saturday, and said all he wanted to do was put Friday night behind him.

A third victim, Jenea Simmons, 17, said she was experiencing her first First Friday after celebrating a friend’s birthday dinner nearby. She was walking along Ninth Street with three friends when the shots were fired.

The girls were away from the two arguing groups, and Simmons said she never saw the crowd or the shooter.

“I didn’t see anything,” Simmons said. “I was just looking at the sidewalk, trying to watch where I was going, then I heard the shots and saw people running.”

Simmons thought the gunshots were fireworks at first, but heard people screaming and turned around to run away. When she did, she found she couldn’t move her right foot.

“My foot was stuck,” Simmons said. “I couldn’t move it, I fell down and my friend said I was bleeding. I looked down and there was this huge, bleeding hole in my foot.”

She was taken to MCG Hospital and released Sunday with crutches and a wheelchair. The immobility, she said, is one of the biggest challenges she now faces. When Simmons, 17, returns to Butler High School in August, she will have to use the wheelchair while taking several classes upstairs.

The biggest change is psychological.

“I can’t imagine me going through all this. I always said I’d never get shot,” she said. “That was my first and last First Friday. I’ll never go out like I’ve been going out.”

Simmons, like Bullard, is now trying to live with the damage and get Friday night behind her.

“I’ve just got to put this in the past,” she said. “I pray my foot gets better, and I want to get this in the past.”

All three victims said they had nothing to do with the arguing groups, but happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. They also said they were downtown specifically for First Friday.

Three other victims included two more females, 16 and 22, and a 21-year-old man. Their conditions have not been released, but authorities have said they did not think anyone had life-threatening injuries.

Sheriff Ronnie Strength said Saturday he was going to meet with city officials today to discuss the future of First Friday. He said there are two options: Someone can be responsible for the event or it can end.

Moore’s mother, Marie Ramsey, thought her teenager was going to dinner and a movie. She said she knows her daughter should not have been on Broad Street so late, but also said she remembered a time when she would not have had to worry about it.

“Things aren’t like they used to be,” she said. “You won’t catch me or my family in Augusta anytime soon.”

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