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No arrest yet in post-First Friday shooting

Saturday, July 7, 2012 10:45 AM
Last updated Tuesday, Aug 7, 2012 2:00 AM
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Authorities are still working to make an arrest in the shooting that wounded six people after First Friday festivities in downtown Augusta.

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Sheriff's deputies collected evidence at the scene of the Friday night shooting on Broad Street.  ZACH BOYDEN-HOLMES/STAFF
ZACH BOYDEN-HOLMES/STAFF
Sheriff's deputies collected evidence at the scene of the Friday night shooting on Broad Street.


Richmond County sheriff’s deputies brought in people for questioning after the late-night shooting but haven’t charged anyone yet and believe the shooter is still on the loose. None of the victims appeared to have life-threatening wounds, Capt. Scott Gay said. The names of the victims have not been released.

Sheriff Ronnie Strength said he wants to meet with city officials first thing Monday to discuss the future of First Friday.

“Without a doubt we have a problem,” Strength said. He said he was not surprised the shooting happened because First Friday crowds have been getting more rowdy lately.

Officers believe a single shooter opened fire shortly after 11:30 p.m. in the 900 block of Broad Street. Deputies recovered a gun at the scene, Gay said.

Witnesses told authorities that one group was getting ready to approach another when the shooting began. Some of the victims appeared to be part of the opposite group, but others were bystanders. The young men who were wounded were wearing white T-shirts, but Gay said officers are unsure whether the shooting involved gangs.

“There’s a lot of finger-pointing, and some of the witnesses are not being cooperative,” Gay said.

Daniel Long, a witness to the shooting in front of Ruben’s Department Store at 914 Broad St., said he heard shots and saw at least four people on the ground, mostly with ankle or foot wounds. He said one person might have been hit in the thigh.

The store’s windows had two bullet holes in them.

One victim drove to Augusta State University, where he was picked up by police, deputies said.

First Friday began more than a decade ago as an arts promotion event, with art galleries staying open late, arts and crafts vendors selling their wares and music performed outdoors.

The sheriff said he thinks the problem is that no one is in charge of the event, so police have no one to rely on to help organize or know what is happening and where.

Gay said because there are no organizers, no deputies had special assignments for the event.

“What we have to do now is steal manpower from other parts of the county,” Strength said. “We had 20 or 22 deputies down there last night.”

Some Broad Street merchants on Saturday referenced another violent event almost 10 years ago that happened after First Friday.

In October 2002, at least three fights broke out that ended in damage to bars. Around midnight, a large group began to fight at Broad and 11th streets, leaving a cracked window at Louie J’s restaurant. A short time later, officers sprayed Mace to break up another fight in the 1100 block of Broad Street.

By 2 a.m., another fight had erupted outside the coffee bar Metro, where a man was thrown through a side window into the bar. At least 19 arrests were made for disorderly conduct.

The next day, Main Street Augus­ta member Brenda Durant said the organization, which was in charge of the event at that time, would enforce regulations of acoustic-only bands, vendor registration and a 5-10 p.m. festival time. Strength said then that he did not think First Friday should be associated with the violence that happened after the official event ended.

On Saturday, Strength said he will speak to city leaders about what action needs to be taken to make sure the event is safe, even if that means ending it completely.

He said he would be willing to work with an organizer to make sure people who are going to cause problems are “taken straight to jail” if the event were to continue.

“Whatever it takes to control First Friday, we will do,” he said.

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Riverman1
93611
Points
Riverman1 07/07/12 - 11:02 am
8
2
It's a Dilemma

If First Friday is now unofficial and just something people do, how can you stop it? Are we at the point where we have to fence off the downtown area and only allow people in through checkpoints?

Conservative Man
5578
Points
Conservative Man 07/07/12 - 11:08 am
9
1
CADI money..

Maybe some of the over $350,000 the DDA collects every year from downtown business owners for CADI could be used to pay for extra security as was promised in the initial selling of the idea?
After all the only thing the money seems to be spent on now is a Segway and about 7-9 minimum wage "trash picker-uppers".
What do you say Ms. Woodard..
Or should we go right over your head to the DAP?

Patty-P
3520
Points
Patty-P 07/07/12 - 12:18 pm
8
0
If Augusta hadn't pushed away

If Augusta hadn't pushed away civil, cultured people their 1st Friday event would still be successful.

RAINBOW
11
Points
RAINBOW 07/07/12 - 12:19 pm
4
2
First Friday

I have always thought this was not a good idea,to many people drinking,If the are goning to have it the should close the places that sell beer or whatever while First Friday is going on.that would be safer for everybody.

seenitB4
97390
Points
seenitB4 07/07/12 - 12:26 pm
2
2
Sheriff

Does anyone notice how sad & tired the Sheriff looks?? I would say to the good man you have done a great job & you deserve a rest.....I hope you can enjoy some retirement years in peace ....

RAINBOW
11
Points
RAINBOW 07/07/12 - 12:26 pm
3
1
truthfully

I have been there 3 or 4 times,I have never found anything much entertaining myself,so if it has become a thing where people cant go and be safe,then I say stop the show some people think the can't have a good time without drinking.

seenitB4
97390
Points
seenitB4 07/07/12 - 12:28 pm
5
0
Gathering

This event could go the way of Freaknik in Atlanta.....great at first but punks turned it into a wastefield.....a few can ruin a good thing.

Karen Slater-McDaniel
3102
Points
Karen Slater-McDaniel 07/07/12 - 12:29 pm
7
0
Please stop saying "not life

Please stop saying "not life threatening"! Shot is shot so whether or not it's life threatening is irrelevant. What started out as an artsy type event for downtown has become out of control the past few years. And it's not all alcohol related, it's more teens & young adults who can't behave in any setting. My suggestion would be to join it with Saturday Market during the morning & afternoon hours to end at sundown before someone becomes a homicide victim.

itsanotherday1
48304
Points
itsanotherday1 07/07/12 - 12:53 pm
4
0
RAINBOW

Street festivals with alcohol sales are held all over the world without major incident. It is just a matter of police presence with zero tolerance for misbehavior. Look at Mardia Gras; it doesn't get any rowdier than that, but it is a safe party as long as you don't venture into dark streets.

Riverman1
93611
Points
Riverman1 07/07/12 - 12:59 pm
4
1
Sheriff Strength Doesn't Look Bad

SeenIt said, "Does anyone notice how sad & tired the Sheriff looks?? I would say to the good man you have done a great job & you deserve a rest.....I hope you can enjoy some retirement years in peace ...."

I hope he enjoys his retirement, too, but he doesn't look bad. Actually, I think he looks pretty good for his age. What is he 66? He's had major medical problems and looks pretty doggone good in that picture. I wish he could continue, even though I haven't always agreed with things in the past. He certainly beats the two front runners in the Democratic Party race.

Discussionstarter
501
Points
Discussionstarter 07/07/12 - 12:59 pm
5
1
The police need to be patrolling in pairs

Too many times I have seen them on First Friday in groups four to five standing on the Broad Street medians. Break up into pairs and you will cover twice as much ground. Also need more motorcycle cops, undercover, and invite the GSP to patrol as well.

scoopdedoop64
2488
Points
scoopdedoop64 07/07/12 - 01:13 pm
5
0
Pass out the guns

Sad that people can't have a good time without some crazy people messing it up.

seenitB4
97390
Points
seenitB4 07/07/12 - 01:54 pm
2
2
Excuse me river

Did I say he looked bad...no I didn't...he is a nice looking man I said he looked tired,,,,,& who wouldn't with the mess he has had to deal with....& sure this race & all the controversy around it hasn't helped any.. let us hope YOU look that good when you are ready for retirement...if that ever happens!:)
Maybe one day it will.

seenitB4
97390
Points
seenitB4 07/07/12 - 01:58 pm
3
3
preparation h

A little preparation H around his eyes would perk him up a tad....but for you River......it would probably take something more..:):)

kidding....

Riverman1
93611
Points
Riverman1 07/07/12 - 02:05 pm
5
1
LOL

Love it.

OhWell
326
Points
OhWell 07/07/12 - 03:12 pm
6
0
Most towns the size of

Most towns the size of Augusta have outdoor street parties that include alchohol. It is mentioned several of these involved were teenagers that should not have been downtown in my opinion on First Friday. Maybe Police Patrols could check ID's and sell armbands that would help with extra security.

Patty-P
3520
Points
Patty-P 07/07/12 - 03:29 pm
6
0
Is Augusta turning into a mini-Chicago?

Give the city 5 years at this pace.

dstewartsr
20393
Points
dstewartsr 07/07/12 - 05:22 pm
4
0
"Sheriff vows First Friday action"

Who wrote that headline? What, he's going to ignore it? Seriously.

museofsatie
586
Points
museofsatie 07/07/12 - 05:38 pm
4
1
First Friday ends at 9pm.

First Friday ends at 9pm. Obviously, some FF people are still downtown after that time, but the event is over at 9pm. I don't see why First Friday should be the scapegoat for this act of violence. Regardless, the event has needed better police presence for years.

Patty-P
3520
Points
Patty-P 07/07/12 - 05:45 pm
1
4
dstewartsr...

Quite possibly if it had happened in the 'hood' it might HAVE been ignored.

Patty-P
3520
Points
Patty-P 07/07/12 - 09:08 pm
2
2
dstewartsr

I still doubt a meeting would be called.

tanbaby
1306
Points
tanbaby 07/08/12 - 07:38 am
0
1
some of the witnesses are not
Unpublished

some of the witnesses are not being cooperative???? imagine that !!!!

crackertroy
540
Points
crackertroy 07/08/12 - 09:31 am
2
1
no arrest
Unpublished

What? No arrest made? Didn't the guy in the video when this story broke say that police were on the scene within seconds? That a police car turned around immediately and put his lights on? No arrest? I'm beginning to believe the RCPD doesn't want to make any arrests.

Willow Bailey
20605
Points
Willow Bailey 07/08/12 - 09:38 am
1
0
Lol. Watch those Preparation

Lol. Watch those Preparation H sales escalate. Seenit, just earned an Internet commercial entitled "Atlanta Lady Infuriates Local Plastic Surgeons, Find out why."

blues550
380
Points
blues550 07/08/12 - 09:50 am
1
0
Last Friday
Unpublished

Move the thing to Saturday afternoon. People might actually go into the shops and buy. Stop the street vendors. The objective is to increase sales and awareness of downtown business. If you want vendors set them up in the common.

Only legitimate non profits should be allowed any display and it would occur in front of a storefront and sponsored by the merchant.

These punks were not downtown for anything other than to cause trouble and add further embarrassment to what is otherwise a great city.

bubbasauce
24260
Points
bubbasauce 07/08/12 - 10:00 am
1
3
Shut it down, period!

Shut it down, period!

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