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Police will enforce minors' curfew after First Friday shooting

Monday, July 9, 2012 6:51 PM
Last updated Tuesday, Aug 7, 2012 2:00 AM
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The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office said it will beef up security at First Fridays and crack down on minors who are out after the city’s midnight curfew after six people were shot last week.



“We will be very proactive with curfew violations from here on out,” Capt. Scott Gay said. “We have cited people in the last few months. It is always a bigger problem in the summer.”

Around 11:30 p.m. Friday, witnesses saw two groups heading toward each other before shots rang out. Gay said they believe the incident was gang-related because the groups were wearing similar colors, an indicator of gang involvement in the past, although he said Broad Street is not a gang’s current territory.

Investigators have developed several leads in the case and believe one person was responsible for the shooting. At this point they have been unable to identify any gangs in the area that refer to themselves as “Kings,” which one victim, 14-year-old Brittany Moore, said she heard someone say.

“It terrifies me that someone would shoot into a crowd of people,” Gay said. “We will make an arrest. It’s just a matter of when.”

Police recovered a Hi-Point 9 mm and about 10 shell casings from the scene. The gun is being processed by the Crime Scene Unit. Investigator Tom Johnson said the sheriff’s office will pull prints from the gun this week and send it to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for ballistic testing.

Of the six people shot Friday night, three were under 18.

Jenea Simmons, 17, was downtown for her first First Friday when she was shot in the foot. She said she did not see a crowd or the shooter. When the crowd started to scatter after the gunshots, she realized she could not move her foot. When she looked down she saw a bleeding hole.

“That was my first and last First Friday,” she told a Chronicle reporter Sunday. Gay said the presence of juveniles downtown after First Friday is the root of the problem. He said vendors that are open late on Broad Street attract kids. Although the curfew does not start until midnight, if there is nothing to draw them downtown they will be less likely to hang out outside the bars.

The vendors tell law enforcement they have permission from businesses to set up shop. Because no one is taking responsibility for the event, police have no one to ask.

“First Friday needs to end,” Gay said. “If they end it, we can make sure no one is loitering. The vendors are the ones attracting kids. Without them, and with an increase in police presence, they will go somewhere else.”

Gay and Sheriff Ronnie Strength both said the curfew for youths age 17 and under, which was enacted in 1997, is very difficult to enforce because it requires extra manpower.

When a minor is picked up for a curfew violation, deputies have to wait with them until a parent picks them up, which can take hours.

“It’s very difficult (to enforce),” Strength said. “Parents don’t know where their kids are or what they’re doing. That’s the real problem.”

Comments (25) Add comment
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seenitB4
91139
Points
seenitB4 07/09/12 - 07:01 pm
9
0
Never ending problem!

He said..
“It’s very difficult (to enforce),” Strength said. “Parents don’t know where their kids are or what they’re doing. That’s the real problem.”

We have said that on here for years now....parents are missing in the kids life...if you take the mama in to jail(probably the only bread winner)the kids go hungry...but try & find the daddie....

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 07/09/12 - 07:34 pm
10
0
Question: There is a law

Question: There is a law against shooting people. If a kid is willing to break the law by shooting someone, will that kid suddenly be afraid of breaking a curfew law?

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 07/09/12 - 07:50 pm
6
0
Curfews are like gun control

Curfews are like gun control laws. The only people affected are law-abiding citizens. Law-breakers will continue to be law-breakers.

Red Moon
3
Points
Red Moon 07/09/12 - 08:24 pm
1
3
Keep the people safe it's ur job.

The owners have the opportunity to make a great deal of money and it's a great place to go for the people. The Sheriff can rearrange the schedule of SOD and CSU to work the hours of First Friday and keep everyone safe rather than riding neighborhoods looking for crime. This is a once a month event and the owners should have the opportunity to excel not curtail the event.

alinfun
24
Points
alinfun 07/09/12 - 08:51 pm
1
0
always the same area

Always seems to be in the same area of Broad St. if my memory is correct. If the business's in the problem area are drawing in the wrong element, force them to add extra private security or pay the RCSD to do it for them. If they can't correct the problem maybe it's time to close those business's down for good.

wise ole man
79
Points
wise ole man 07/09/12 - 09:14 pm
3
0
Let them wait at the

Let them wait at the substation until the parents get there And then fine the parents for allowing the teens to be out that late.

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 07/09/12 - 09:35 pm
6
0
Actually some of the parents

Actually some of the parents DO know where their kids are. They just don't care.

Gage Creed
17968
Points
Gage Creed 07/09/12 - 10:00 pm
2
0
Optimum neighborhood crime

Optimum neighborhood crime day? Okay...SOD and CSU are at First Friday.....

itsanotherday1
45610
Points
itsanotherday1 07/09/12 - 10:47 pm
3
0
Alinfun, I don't think it is

Alinfun, I don't think it is the businesses drawing them, it is more shadowy (or was) down on the lower end, so that is where roaches will gather. Better lighting and more active patrolling of police staying in their business will move them on IMO.

Truthbetold74
108
Points
Truthbetold74 07/09/12 - 10:52 pm
0
0
If enough of he residents in
Unpublished

If enough of he residents in the county want to continue First Friday then why don't they have the County Commissioners give the Sheriff’s Office extra money to hire enough deputies on to work it, like a Special. How hard is that to think of? If you ask me that is why I think the next Sheriff should be somebody with Administration experience and Budgeting experience. Have you ever noticed the only answer you ever hear from the Sheriff’s Department is just to shut it down. It’s like they never want to actually address the problem, they just want to move it on somewhere else.

Willow Bailey
20603
Points
Willow Bailey 07/09/12 - 11:07 pm
3
0
A 12 o'clock curfew doesn't

A 12 o'clock curfew doesn't solve an 11:30 shooting. Think Reward for shooter andxa new city ordinance for minors unaccompanied by parents.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 07/10/12 - 12:57 am
4
1
Curfews sound good, but do nothing

Someone who would shoot six people either:
(a) is full of hate, or
(b) doesn't care who he hurts.

A curfew can't:
(a) control hate. Someone who hates after curfew will still hate before curfew.
(b) make someone care. Someone who doesn't care about shooting somebody won't care about a curfew.

KSL
135524
Points
KSL 07/10/12 - 06:55 am
5
0
These kids care more about

These kids care more about being in gangs than bettering themselves. I guess growing up in poverty without a father just isn't painful enough any more.

Truthbetold74
108
Points
Truthbetold74 07/10/12 - 07:18 am
1
0
KSL
Unpublished

Gangs offer the youth the structure they do not have at home and not to make this a political issue about the Sheriff’s Race but I have heard several forums and interviews and the only candidate that I have heard with an actual plan to address these issues is Republican Candidate Godowns. He was speaking the other day about using the G.R.E.A.T. Program instead of the D.A.R.E. Program to address gangs and the family environment. Some of the others candidates have expressed the desire to do anything but I have not heard them with a plan.

Willow Bailey
20603
Points
Willow Bailey 07/10/12 - 07:23 am
0
0
You are so right, Inside, &

You are so right, Inside, & KSL. Hurting people hurt people. It does sound gang related and since the victims were just people in the wrong place at the wrong time, could it be an initiation prank?

blues550
380
Points
blues550 07/10/12 - 07:44 am
0
0
Curfew at Midnight...Shooting at 11:30
Unpublished

Oops! Missed it by that much.

This will only stop when certain element of the community begin to accept responsibility and begin acting like proper parents.

And everyone is afraid to lay the blame at their feet.

Quite excusing bad behavior. Period.

Riverman1
87490
Points
Riverman1 07/10/12 - 07:55 am
0
0
Curfew Won't Help

Most of them, I'd guess, are over 17 anyway. Plus, as Willow said, this was at 11:30. If you want to have an earlier curfew for juveniles that is going to be hard to enforce. Kids are all over Augusta at 10 at night. You going to stop them all over the county? It would be discrimination if you didn't.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 07/10/12 - 08:08 am
1
0
If curfews worked, why limit

If curfews worked, why limit them to juveniles?

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 07/10/12 - 08:08 am
1
0
If curfews worked, why limit

If curfews worked, why limit them to juveniles?

KSL
135524
Points
KSL 07/10/12 - 08:10 am
1
0
Exactly, RM. All I have read

Exactly, RM. All I have read is about the ages of the victims. Looks to me like punishing the victims with the curfew and leaving the real problem alone.

lifelongresident
1323
Points
lifelongresident 07/10/12 - 08:11 am
0
0
build more and bigger jails
Unpublished

build more and bigger jails and start sentencing the rats and roaches to extremely long prison sentences, is the solution to the entire problem.

Little Lamb
47244
Points
Little Lamb 07/10/12 - 08:27 am
1
1
What do you say?

Let's imagine three boys all of them 16 years old. They are out on a Friday night after midnight walking back & forth between the late-night Wendy's and the adjoining convenience store. A policeman sees them, drives his cruiser up to them, gets out, and asks, “How old are you?”

What should they say and do? Even though they are juveniles, they have the right to avoid incriminating themselves. If they lie and say they are 18, they are in big trouble. Lying to a police officer is during an interrogation is way worse than a curfew violation.

If they say nothing, there is the possibility the police officer might hold them until back-up arrives and the boys are carted off to headquarters. Only after a formal arrest can the police force the boys to provide information about their identities and ages.

It's tough to remain silent.

I think the best thing the boys could say to the officer would be, “We would like to walk home now, if you please, officer.”

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 07/10/12 - 09:07 am
0
0
Anotherday1

" Better lighting and more active patrolling of police "

Yes/exactly.

And it's really a chicken or the egg debate, but getting more business to fill up the empty units on that block would go a long way to making it less felonious looking.

Little Lamb
47244
Points
Little Lamb 07/10/12 - 09:13 am
1
0
Lights?

Better lighting? Please, the city just spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on new light fixtures downtown that are sending thousands more candlepower of illumination all over the streets (and even wasted up into the air). Downtown is lit up like a prison yard at night. We don't need no more stinkin’ lights.

Willow Bailey
20603
Points
Willow Bailey 07/10/12 - 10:38 am
1
0
The lighting we need is

The lighting we need is located within some very dark hearts.

Little Lamb
47244
Points
Little Lamb 07/10/12 - 10:49 am
0
0
So True

Amen to that, Willow!

itsanotherday1
45610
Points
itsanotherday1 07/10/12 - 10:56 am
2
0
The recurring theme from many

The recurring theme from many is the lack of civilized behavior and respect for authority by the trouble makers; sourced to the fact of their family situation.

SO...... How do we fix that and why aren't the influential in the communities most affected standing up to challenge and change the culture? It isn't a skin color thing, it is purely attitudinal and cultural; as you see the same kinds of behavior among all ethnicities, some just more than others. Down here, it is much more prevalent among the black citizens, California it is Hispanic primarily, with a lot of Oriental influence, and in Europe it is white thugs for the most part.

Again, that change in culture and attitude has to come from within, any outside pressure is automatically labeled as racist, profiling, etc. How do we as a whole influence that?

jmo
16850
Points
jmo 07/10/12 - 07:18 pm
0
0
"Midnight Curfew"

The shootings happened at 11:30 PM. The shooter could have been home, taken a shower (if he does), and gone to bed by the curfew time. Problem solved. Not!

stillamazed
1488
Points
stillamazed 07/11/12 - 12:50 pm
0
0
Midnight curfew

Teens do not need to be allowed to be downtown until midnight, that is too late and there is nothing good happening down there at those hours. The downtown curfew for teenagers should be 10:00 at the latest for anyone under drinking age and 13-15 year olds should not be allowed down there period! At least in my opinion.

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