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Richmond Co. | Columbia Co. | Aiken Co. |

Augusta officials blame First Friday shooting on gangs

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 7:50 PM
Last updated Tuesday, Aug 7, 2012 2:00 AM
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Richmond County sheriff’s investigators believe a conflict between gangs led to the shooting that wounded six people after the July 6 First Friday festival downtown.

Sgt. Jason Vinson, who supervises the department’s gang investigators, said leads have steered them to at least one gang in the East Boundary area.

“Considering they were wearing similar colors and through witness testimony, it appears it was a conflict between gangs,” Vinson said, but he could not specify which gangs were involved.

Officers believe one shooter opened fire in a crowd outside Ruben’s Department Store in the 900 block of Broad Street around 11:30 p.m. No one has been arrested.

Officers found a Hi-Point 9 mm and about 10 shell casings at the scene. The gun was processed by the Crime Scene Unit last week in an effort to pull fingerprints and DNA evidence. It has been sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for ballistic testing, investigators said.

Officials confirmed there is gang activity in Augusta, but they said Broad Street is not a known gang territory and that gang violence typically doesn’t happen during a public event.

Vinson said gang members learn in prison how to run gangs. After being released on parole, they start running crime rings.

Devon Harris, the founder of Full Circle Refuge, which works with at-risk youth, said the mentality of gangs in Augusta has shifted. They used to be about territory, he said, but now they are about power and prestige.

Augusta has become a breeding ground for national gangs, Harris said, and known gangs are recruiting members as young as elementary school age.

“If we don’t rally around (the at-risk youth) and redirect them, we will have a problem,” Harris said. “If we keep doing what we’re doing, things like First Friday will happen.”

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Dixieman
14972
Points
Dixieman 07/18/12 - 12:26 am
9
0
All 99 articles about this...

...on this site aren't going to save FF. Only better security/policing will.

Riverman1
84110
Points
Riverman1 07/18/12 - 06:52 am
8
1
Don't worry those bullets only...

Y'all don't worry. Those bullets are guided when they are fired so they only hit their intended targets. Innocent people have nothing to worry about. Those bullet holes in Rueben's window must have bounced up off the sidewalk. These special Augusta bullets cannot hurt you. Have fun at First Friday. It's safe as a Sunday church crowd in Columbia County.

seenitB4
87304
Points
seenitB4 07/18/12 - 07:27 am
1
1
Coffee anyone??

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKaT5uG80Ts

Bright bright sun shiney day....gotta love it!

rmwardsr
525
Points
rmwardsr 07/18/12 - 07:34 am
5
0
Evil always migrates to where

Evil always migrates to where good is. The good just give up and let the evil take over. Look at the Mall. If you want to see a freak show on Saturday afternoon go to the mall.

seenitB4
87304
Points
seenitB4 07/18/12 - 08:05 am
5
0
The good

Sometimes the good just want to stay ALIVE & know kids with pumping hormones with very little brain activity don't understand a bullet from a kitty kat..
When we can crack down with REAL punishment we can change things....right now we are doing something in the wind!! Yaknow!

Jane18
12332
Points
Jane18 07/18/12 - 08:11 am
4
0
Gangs??

So,,,, what is going to be done about the gangs infiltrating Augusta, and growing? Because, if nothing is done, then we will be just like Atlanta, and eventually Los Angeles. They turn into a wild pack of animals, do Not wait any longer, get rid of these, these, these,,,,,I can't even think of a good enough word to use in this public forum!

lifelongresident
1323
Points
lifelongresident 07/18/12 - 08:12 am
0
1
yep, lets just "reach out" to
Unpublished

yep, lets just "reach out" to the thugs and gang members we all must understand the "rage" they are feeling, the "displacement and anger" all brought about by racism. "slavery is the cause of gangs, if we can just develop a program to understand them then we can eliminate the gangs"......what mr. harris is saying about "rallying around them" is crap why should society bow down to the feet of "at-risk" youths??? is "at-risk" a disease or sickness or a phyiscal injury??? no "at-risk" is nothing more than culture, tese so called "at-risk" youths live, breathe and eat a culture of violence fed by the song lyrics, videos, and attitudes portrayed by so-called "rap and hip-hop" stars glorified by the media and so-called civil rights activists. no we the decent law-abiding citizens should not "rally around" them this country/society mr. harris is based on laws, rules, and code of conduct of which everyone is expected to follow those who don't are dealt with harshly and justly so. it is those like you who enable and make excuses for this type of behavior when caught and standing before the judge you and your kind will beg the court for sympathy and mercy for the offender claiming "he is truly sorry" working to get a lighter sentence when what is needed is a very long prison term, who believe in order to "reach or identify with them" you will dress like them or speak like them in order to "speak their language. It is time the local leaders reverse thier current mindset influenced by political correctness and based on fear of being labeled (by the race-baiting, ineffective community, race, or religious leaders in the black community) a "raacist" the time is now for MORE POLICE, MORE AND BIGGER JAILS/PRISONS AND LONGER SENTENCES. mr. harris i am sure your intentions are honorable and just, but it is time that war is declared on these wastes of human beings and they be locked away until they are dead or no longer a treat to the law-abiding segment of society

stillamazed
1488
Points
stillamazed 07/18/12 - 08:13 am
4
0
Say it isn't so.......

Gangs? Is this supposed to surprise? Gang activity in Georgia has been on the rise for years now. @rmwardsr, I agree about the Mall, I avoid it and only go when I really need to. Some of them in there are rude, bold and down right nasty. They walk in groups, take up all the walk space then look at you like they dare you to bump into them. Like I have said before, no respect for themselves or anyone else. The Regency Mall should have served as an example to the Augusta Mall but apparently it didn't and now good people are starting to avoid it also.

CobaltGeorge
159198
Points
CobaltGeorge 07/18/12 - 08:21 am
3
0
Diversity

"Augusta has become a breeding ground for national gangs, Harris said, and known gangs are recruiting members as young as elementary school age.

If Augusta wants this gang cultural diversity to grow like other cultural diversities that have been accepted, don't complain. You sure are not doing anything to prevent it.

Those that are in a gang know who they are and those that aren't in the gang also know who they are. So what is the big problem? Oh, I forgot _ Cultural Support.

Common Sense will tell you that just like a house effected with cockroaches, you just don't eradicate one, you have to do all.

Riverman1
84110
Points
Riverman1 07/18/12 - 08:39 am
3
0
CG, Good Point

That line is eye opening.

"Augusta has become a breeding ground for national gangs," Harris said.

Folks, this is not just an isolated shooting.

noxiousfumes
449
Points
noxiousfumes 07/18/12 - 08:51 am
3
0
Gangs of Augusta

Wow, I thought we didn't have any gangs in Augusta (according to Sheriff Strength). And we got rid of most of the bad guys during "Operation Smokescreen" where we got lots of awards for this. That's why we don't need more of the same in law enforcement. Just locking people up doesn't solve the problem because jails are overcrowded and they get released after serving about 1/3 of their time. The culture of violence and the lack of fathers has to be addressed.

This is something that we really have to look at carefully as we elect our next sheriff; which one is going to address the actual problems out in the streets and which one will be content to sit in the office planning how to make a pile of waste look like something good?

JayJay
29
Points
JayJay 07/18/12 - 08:52 am
1
4
Riverman, I usually enjoy

Riverman, I usually enjoy your comments and insight, but why do you continue to leave the same sarcastic comment over and over? I think I have read your "magic bullet" theory on 3 different articles. Also, as a resident of Columbia County I can speak first hand on the violent, mindless crimes that ensue there, but seeing how the FF shooting occured in Richmond County, why the provocation?

beboisme
425
Points
beboisme 07/18/12 - 08:56 am
6
0
Got to ask the question here,

Got to ask the question here, who's territory are the gangs defending? Isn't this usually the reason for the gangland style shootouts? Get a grip little gangstas, you have no territorial rights to anything not even the weapons you use to fight. I like what Greg Smith wrote in a letter to the Editor after the shootout occured downtown. Greg suggested a First Saturday as an all day event each month. Greg pointed out that an event on Saturdays would almost assure that the thugs and trouble makers would be aleep when the day started at 9:00 or 10:00 am. Greg said it works for Charleston and Savannah and I'm in agreement that it could work here as well. It would give more of a family atmosphere during the daylight hours. If Ft.Gordon chooses to keep their soldiers away from First Friday maybe this change would allow soldiers to participate on a first Saturday. Think on this change, it makes for sound reasoning.

chadwick323i
48
Points
chadwick323i 07/18/12 - 09:00 am
1
0
Fort Gordon

Hey Fort Gordon, you got 16 days until the next first Friday, just saying.....

blues550
376
Points
blues550 07/18/12 - 09:04 am
0
1
Ephiphany Moment & A Lemonade Stand
Unpublished

Wow!!!!! Gangs????? Who'da thunk!!!!!

Will go back to say we need to initiate The Augusta Games. Swap their real guns for paint pellet buns and as NASCAR would say "have at it boys!" Imagine how much more entertaining First Friday would be. Tombstone on the Streets of Augusta! Shootout at the Deke Corral!

We could even make a reality show. Nevermind, this is already too freain' real.

noxiousfumes
449
Points
noxiousfumes 07/18/12 - 09:13 am
2
0
This interview with Devon

This interview with Devon Harris from 2 years ago is extremely eye opening. We have a real problem now.

http://www.viddler.com/v/9640bd55

itsanotherday1
43297
Points
itsanotherday1 07/18/12 - 09:16 am
3
1
In regard to the sarcasm

In regard to the sarcasm about shooting at feet; anyone have a theory about why there were only leg wounds and none in the torso?

blues550
376
Points
blues550 07/18/12 - 09:30 am
0
0
Foot Shots
Unpublished

Realizing the brain was too hard to find in the targets, just aim lower and hope for the best.

Drug shootings have an even funnier target area when not shooting to kill.

belle
307
Points
belle 07/18/12 - 09:37 am
0
0
Hope this puts the First Friday connection at rest
Unpublished

This should answer all those who tried to blame the shooting on First Friday. Clearly it would have occurred anywhere. Now, to deal with the gangs....Whose territory are the public streets? OURS.

JRC2024
8879
Points
JRC2024 07/18/12 - 09:39 am
2
0
I say arrest known gang

I say arrest known gang members and put several of each in a cell and let them get rid of each other. Or they may realize they have alot in common and this gang stuff is just a bunch of hooey that gets you no where fast.

Little Lamb
46040
Points
Little Lamb 07/18/12 - 09:40 am
1
1
Marksmanship

That shooter was pretty good. There were six gunshot injuries and police found only ten casings.

HenryWalker3rd
2393
Points
HenryWalker3rd 07/18/12 - 09:56 am
1
1
What if someone died?
Unpublished

Would your joke still be funny?

SPARKSTER83
259
Points
SPARKSTER83 07/18/12 - 09:58 am
3
0
I SAY FIRST SATURDAY IS A
Unpublished

I SAY FIRST SATURDAY IS A GREAT IDEA,AND MAKE IT FROM 10AM TILL 6PM,BECAUSE THE GOOD WILL COME DOWN THEN.BUT THE BAD AND THE UGLY WILL NOT SHOW THEIR FACES TILL DARK.

HenryWalker3rd
2393
Points
HenryWalker3rd 07/18/12 - 10:00 am
5
0
Re: My Theory
Unpublished

The gunBOY was didn't want to "kill" anyone, so they aimed low.

The gunBOY is only 4 feet 3 inches tall.

The gunBOY was "just having fun" because there isn't anything for the kids to do at 11:00 in the evening....

The gunBOY wasn't raised to respect society.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 07/18/12 - 10:54 am
1
2
Gangs inhabit most U.S.

Gangs inhabit most U.S. cities and suburbs. With Atlanta only 2.5 hours away, removing gangs from Augusta is just creating a void for other potential gangs to fill back up. Augusta is the second largest city in Georgia, to say LEO's can eradicate the gang element entirely is unrealistic. I've no solution to counter with but let's be clear that any attempt to move the gangs out is futile. Law Enforcement may be able to keep them at bay, but that would be attrition and would cost lots of money, not to mention more devastating type losses.

My best play would be to communicate with the gangs on some level just to establish a dialogue.

that's all I got so far.

stillamazed
1488
Points
stillamazed 07/18/12 - 11:26 am
4
0
@David

You don't negotiate with gangs, because they have no rights first off.....2nd, they all think they are above the law, that is obvious by the crimes they commit and the number of crimes they commit. You may try to establish a dialogue with them, cities like LA have done it but are they still selling drugs, killing innocent people, spreading fear through the communities of course they are. So what did the so called dialogues really do? The solution to most of these problems start at home and until we have less single parent homes and parents who are involved and care what their kids are doing then the problem will continue to grow. If you are raised seeing that no one really cares, that the government will give you everything you need then what incentive is there to do something with your life? The easy fast money is all they are concerned with. I am not blaming this young mans parents for anything, he may have good parents, I am speaking about the gang problem in general.

Riverman1
84110
Points
Riverman1 07/18/12 - 01:15 pm
5
0
Jay Jay said, "Riverman, I

Jay Jay said, "Riverman, I usually enjoy your comments and insight, but why do you continue to leave the same sarcastic comment over and over? I think I have read your "magic bullet" theory on 3 different articles. Also, as a resident of Columbia County I can speak first hand on the violent, mindless crimes that ensue there, but seeing how the FF shooting occured in Richmond County, why the provocation?"

Maybe I need to work on my material to keep you reading. But understand this humorous point of mine is in response to many RCSO briefings where they basically said they only kill each other. They imply we have nothing to worry about because of that. My thought is bullets flying around hitting six people may not have gotten the memo.

I don't know if I get your point about living in Columbia County and knowing about crimes there and then saying why the provocation? What provocation are you referring to?

I will tell you this, the last time 6 people where shot in one incident in Columbia County was at The Battle of Heggies Rock in the Revolutionary War. They were Tories and Redcoats too, so they don't count.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 07/18/12 - 05:47 pm
0
0
yeah, communication is

yeah, communication is over-rated anyway. Trusting in the parents to step up rather than engaging in some type of diplomacy will work for sure. Just look at L.A. , maybe if they had done the same, all their problems would just drift out to sea right?

I'm just pointing out that doing it the easy way and the right way aren't synonymous. You start with dialogue and you're still left with the option of declaring war. The reverse doesn't work, ask Pandora.

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