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Group prays to end violence at River Glen Apartments

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The third homicide in less than a year at an Augusta apartment complex has some people turning to the power of prayer to draw violence out of the area.

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Tre'sean Chapman, 6 (from left); Desaan Tshvoo, 6; Orlando Ricks, 7; and Tarell Roney, 8, attend a prayer rally at River Glen Apartments. The complex on East Boundary has seen three homicides since May.  ZACH BOYDEN-HOLMES/STAFF
Tre'sean Chapman, 6 (from left); Desaan Tshvoo, 6; Orlando Ricks, 7; and Tarell Roney, 8, attend a prayer rally at River Glen Apartments. The complex on East Boundary has seen three homicides since May.

At a rally at the River Glen Apartments on East Boundary on Friday evening, a handful of people grew into a crowd of 30 when the Rev. Angela Harden invited bystanders to prayer over a loudspeaker.

“We’re here to arrest the spirit that’s lurking in our community,” said Harden, the senior pastor of New Destiny Triumph Ministries in Hephzibah.

Three people have been killed at River Glen since May. On Feb. 5, 27-year-old Truemaine Davon Jones was discovered dead from a gunshot wound in a parking lot at the apartments. Soweto Kamau Moody, 18, was arrested Wednesday evening in connection with the killing.

Jones was the second homicide victim at the complex this year. Christopher Gary Smith, 24, is a suspect in the Jan. 14 death of 24-year-old Doniel Jamal Hicks. Police are still searching for Smith.

Authorities are also trying to find the person who shot and killed Angelo Daggett on May 14 at the complex.

Led by several ministers from area churches and outreach programs, the group Friday held signs with messages of non-violence and raised their voices in prayer.

“God lives here in River Glen. He is here. His presence is here,” Harden said to begin the rally.

Harden grew up on Aiken Street a few blocks behind River Glen and went to school at nearby Hornsby Elementary School. The increase in violence in her childhood neighborhood is a “spiritual issue,” she said.

“Prayer changes things,” Harden said. “With God, we can do all things.”

The group plans to hold weekly prayer rallies at River Glen. Harden would like to take prayer to other communities, and she invites more spiritual leaders to join the effort.

The Rev. Bobby Hankerson, the pastor of Hammond Grove Word Power Ministry in North Augusta, said prayer rallies and citizen activism can curb violence and drug use.

As co-founder of the Weed and Seed Initiative in the Barton Village neighborhood, he saw a community transform. But he said the Augusta area needs to step up again after recent violence and killings of law enforcement officers.

“We have to get the community involved. Neighborhoods and citizens have to join in,” Hankerson said.

Rosana Goodloe, a member of New Destiny Triumph Ministries, prayed that all children can live in their homes without fear. She wanted the rally to be a sign of hope for River Glen residents, including her 5-year-old granddaughter.

“We feel we need to be here to speak blessings to this community to let them know they are worth something,” Goodloe said. “Whoever the killers are, we want them to know they have no power here.”

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albertoli 02/17/12 - 09:49 pm
Someone needs to give these

Someone needs to give these kids a break. If the Richmond County Sheriff's Department is called there on average of twice a day, or more, why not locate a police substation there? This would save time, fuel and most importantly some innocent lives. It would also send a message that law abiding people are fed up and we are going to protect other law abiding citizens and their families.

soldout 02/17/12 - 11:22 pm
God won't over-ride the fee

God won't over-ride the fee will of the sinner that is destroying the community. A good prayer to pray is "that all truth be brought to light". This God can answer without over-riding someone's will and things being done in darkness will come to light. If there are Christians involved in the evil then you can do 1st Corth. 5, 5 and meet togehter to turn them over to satan for the destruction of the flesh in order to save the soul. All battles are won and lost in the spiritual realm and then you see the results in the natural. May the Chirstians create fear enough for those planning evil to flee. Christians have the power and authority to destroy the works of the enemy.

Craig Spinks
Craig Spinks 02/18/12 - 04:00 am
Remember Dr. King's chant: "I

Remember Dr. King's chant: "I am somebody."

Well, these somebodies who live in "The Bottom" deserve protection from the county as much as do folks who live on Cumming and Pickens roads as well as on Park Avenue.

seenitB4 02/18/12 - 07:47 am
This makes me sad.....the

This makes me sad.....the kids need help.....just wish some could come up with a solution to change their life......The kids didn't cause this mess..they maybe can get out of the danger----if we are going to use tax $$$ or something---use it to educate & help them.

Riverman1 02/18/12 - 07:59 am
Absolutely to every post made

Absolutely to every post made here. WE need to do something.

wondersnevercease 02/18/12 - 11:51 am
God helps those who Help

God helps those who Help themselves....................

proud2bamerican 02/18/12 - 12:16 pm
Devon Harris has had success

Devon Harris has had success working in the same community in the past. It takes parental/guardianship involvement on the highest level, and others in the community are willing to support them. You can only do so much for the kids; the household authority MUST take control and be responsible! See ...

allhans 02/18/12 - 01:46 pm
This situation needs more

This situation needs more time than an hour. Make it a 24 hour a day project. Stay with it. You can win this fight.

Asitisinaug 02/18/12 - 03:48 pm
Prayer is a great start.

Prayer is a great start. Community activism is great. However, until those in the community DEMAND that this type of behavior stop, report all suspicious activity, fully work in cooperation with the police and stop the "I didn't see anything" attitude, etc. then nothing will change.

This community can do as other communities and neighborhoods do - have a neighborhood watch, pay for additional security, add a guard gate - you can't sit around and wait for the government to hand you every single thing and take care of all of your needs, it simply will never happen. You must come together and work together to help solve the problems.

As for full time police presence - that means you are requesting "paid security" from our law enforcement and no neighborhood or business has that without paying for it directly. The neighborhood authority could opt to do this if they wanted. However, with the amount of crime, the citizens should use this a a tool to push to commissioners to properly fund the Sheriff's Office and seek additional police protection. Since the commission has cut over 40 deputies, millions from the jail budget allowing for criminals to be back on the streets very quickly, slashed training, issued furlough days which equates to cutting another 16 deputies year round, etc. the department is struggling to keep up with crime in any/all areas and they are doing the best they can do in a bad situation. Frankly, when you also take into account that for the past 3 years in a row deputies have taken a PAY CUT every year along with furlough days, etc. it is amazing that they are working as hard as they can to reduce violence and crime because they certainly do not have the support and appreciation of this commission - this is a rarely talked about subject and yet public safety should be their top priority. The poor pay, lack of benefits, furlough days, etc. also makes it difficult to fill the many current vacant positions with good applicants as stated by the Sheriff in a recent article.

Until this community and all of us fully support the Sheriff's Office and inform their commissioners that we want public safety to become a top funding priority, you can expect more of the same. Additionally, the DA's office needs to end all plea bargains with repeat offenders because if we can keep violent offenders behind bars, the police will have a chance to "catch up" and work with the community again instead of going from call to call, sometimes with calls pending.

raul 02/18/12 - 06:14 pm
Prayer plus action and

Prayer plus action and personal responsibility. Prayer alone won't do it.

GaStang22 02/18/12 - 11:59 pm
You can't help the kids,

You can't help the kids, especially when the parents won't put forth the effort to better the situation and actually make it worse. When your closest influences are bad ones, the kids almost have no chance.

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