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Holiday weekend homicides push count past '09

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Darnell Brown was a good athlete, but more than that, he was a good person, said his former Josey High School football coach.

Josey's Darnell Brown (left) drives down court. Brown was one of three people shot on Second Avenue in Augusta on July 4.   Michael Holahan/File
Michael Holahan/File
Josey's Darnell Brown (left) drives down court. Brown was one of three people shot on Second Avenue in Augusta on July 4.

"You couldn't find a finer young man than him," said Barney Chavous. "He was somebody special."

Brown, 19, was shot in the head in a vacant lot on Second Avenue where a large group of people had gathered for a cookout on Independence Day. A talented football and basketball player, Brown was preparing to attend Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia.

The gunman -- who investigators have identified as Jerome Jerrod "Dirt" Sturgis, but have yet to apprehend -- was heard yelling at Brown about money before he began shooting, according to Richmond County Sheriff's Lt. Calvin Chew. Two bystanders, 19-year-old Wayne Howard and an unnamed 12-year-old boy were shot as well.

Brown was the second to die over the long Fourth of July weekend but not the last. It was one of a series of incidents that stained the otherwise celebratory mood in the city.

The bodies of Jeramie Anthony Hammonds, 20, and Kayla Marie Wells, 19, were found by people riding four-wheelers in a wooded-area off Glenn Hills Drive Monday afternoon. They had multiple gunshot wounds. Deputies have yet to locate a suspect in that case.

On July 2, the body of Jquanda Johnson, 27, was found in her home in the 800 block of Spruce Street. Residents had been knocking on the door for two days before maintenance workers entered the apartment and found her body. No suspect has been identified.

Homicide numbers were keeping pace with last year's total until July 2, when deputies began the July Fourth weekend with the call to Johnson's death. The four homicides that occurred through Monday have brought the year's total to 17.

There were 13 homicide victims by the same time in 2009, according to Chew.

Since Monday, Chew said his investigators have been working overtime, some volunteering to come back from out-of-town July Fourth celebrations.

"To be honest, when Monday came with the two dead I said, 'You've got to be kidding me,' " Chew said. "I'm really proud of my guys for stepping up to the plate like they always do."

With only one suspect identified out of the five, Chew said they still have a lot of work to do. Citing the ongoing investigations, he would not comment further.

As for why this all happened over just a few days, Chew said it didn't appear that the typical problems caused by holidays contributed -- citing cases where family arguments lead to violence and sometimes death during the stress of a holiday. These cases seem to have underlying causes that investigators have yet to detail.

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soldout
1280
Points
soldout 07/09/10 - 04:47 am
0
0
We sow so much violence in

We sow so much violence in this country and the crop we get is very sad. Whether we are killing un-born babies and calling it good or by using death in moves or tv to entertain we have created a spirit of death on many levels. We teach kids that they are just animals and there is no loving creator and life becomes a little less precious. The answer is always Jesus and a society that honors and worships the creator and not the creation. I pray for God's comfort for every family involved in these situations and pray protection over the living. The Holy Spirit is our best guide on how to protect our children and to direct our lives and their lives. We don't have to wonder what the answer to all this is as many already know.

johnston.cliff
2
Points
johnston.cliff 07/09/10 - 06:28 am
0
0
We usually reap what we sow

We usually reap what we sow and sometimes we hang around otherwise uninvolved people so they can get some of that reaping too.

sdrwtcn
0
Points
sdrwtcn 07/09/10 - 06:44 am
0
0
Sadly, one of the reasons

Sadly, one of the reasons that I am here was to get away from these types of headlines.

bettyboop
7
Points
bettyboop 07/09/10 - 08:18 am
0
0
""As for why this all

""As for why this all happened over just a few days, Chew said it didn't appear that the typical problems caused by holidays contributed -- citing cases where family arguments lead to violence and sometimes death during the stress of a holiday. These cases seem to have underlying causes that investigators have yet to detail.""........................Ya think???

veggie-d
0
Points
veggie-d 07/09/10 - 01:58 pm
0
0
augusta has always been ahead

augusta has always been ahead of the curve on violent crime. in the 80s it made "The Book of Lists" Top Ten WORST places to live in the u.s....and violent crime/murder was one of the reasons...looks like it's only getting to get worse.

3g
0
Points
3g 07/09/10 - 03:00 pm
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Soldout - I respectfully

Soldout - I respectfully disagree with your " answer " , living in the fantasy world of religion is not the solution . It is all about education and responsible parenting , you say " we teach kids that they are just animals " say what ???? I have never known anybody who teaches that humans are animals . Common - sense needs to be taught , kids need to be prohibited from violent video games , movies ( whatever happened to R rated movies being " restricted " ) and a Gov't subsidized culture so they can learn responsibility and become independent thinkers .

corgimom
33231
Points
corgimom 07/10/10 - 12:04 am
0
0
Not to worry, Countyman says

Not to worry, Countyman says that crime is not on the rise and that the number of homicides will be about the same as last year. And he couldn't possibly be wrong. *snort*

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