Originally created 10/26/01

Across the area



Two shot, one charged after argument erupts

Two men were shot early Thursday after an argument in front of a convenience store on Walton Way, Richmond County authorities said.

Joseph Cummings, 23, was in fair condition at University Hospital, and Edilberto Diaz, 22, was in fair condition at Medical College of Georgia Hospital, sheriff's Investigator Wayne Bunton said.

The shootings occurred about 5 a.m. at the Pump-N-Shop store at 1739 Walton Way, police said.

According to police, Mr. Diaz and Mr. Cummings held a gun on five people as they tried to take back stereo equipment they claimed had been stolen from them. After a struggle, the gun was dropped and Christopher Walker picked it up and shot Mr. Diaz in the upper torso and Mr. Cummings in the neck, Investigator Bunton said.

Mr. Walker, 21, of Moore Avenue, was charged with two counts each of aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. His brother Nicholas Walker, 24, also of Moore Avenue, was charged with possession of marijuana, police said.

Charges of armed robbery and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime are pending against both shooting victims, police said.

Teams douse brush fire near subdivision homes

BELVEDERE -Six fire departments in Aiken County held off a large brush fire that threatened several homes Thursday afternoon in Pinewood Plantation subdivision, a Belvedere fire official said.

A welder working on a tractor-trailer behind S&S Truck Stop on South Carolina Highway 25 sparked a fire in a field just after noon, and high winds quickly spread it, said Capt. Cecil Scott, of the Belvedere Fire Department. The fire damaged a manufactured home on Kerry Court.

Fire officials kept the fire from overtaking houses in Pinewood Plantation, but six acres of woods were destroyed. The Belvedere Fire Department was assisted by firefighters from the Bath, Clearwater, Merriwether, North Augusta and Graniteville-Vaucluse-Warrenville units.

Driver hits police car in high-speed chase

A man rammed his car into a sheriff's patrol car late Wednesday during a chase that reached speeds of 100 mph, police said.

Joe R. Pope, 24, of Augusta, was arrested near Cross Creek High School about 10:45 p.m. after he jumped out of the car and ran, Maj. Larry Vinson said.

A patrol officer tried to stop Mr. Pope on Old Savannah Road when he noticed the suspect's car had no tag. When Mr. Pope sped up and led two patrol cars on a chase through Augusta, Maj. Vinson said. At one point, Mr. Pope rammed the patrol vehicle's front end, breaking a headlight and causing several hundred dollars in damage, the major said.

Mr. Pope, of Greene Street, was charged with eluding police, driving on the wrong side of the road, leaving an unattended vehicle, speeding, running a red light, no state tag, no driver's license, giving a false name to police and obstruction of an officer.

Homeowner thwarts pair of armed robbers

An Augusta man outsmarted two masked men who invaded his home Thursday morning, authorities said.

Tracey Hawes, 29, told authorities that two armed men wearing masks and gloves kicked in the door to his home on Dominion Way at about 10 a.m. Wednesday, sheriff's Investigator David Santos said.

Mr. Hawes heard the men and hid in an upstairs bedroom with his 8-month-old son.

When Mr. Hawes heard the burglars come upstairs, he stepped out of the bedroom and they demanded his money.

Mr. Hawes told the men there was money in his truck and led the men downstairs. He ran outside and screamed for help. The robbers panicked and ran, Investigator Santos said.

Paving work will close part of Old Petersburg

A portion of Old Petersburg Road will be closed for construction work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday.

The Martinez thoroughfare will have asphalt paving work from Baston Road to Stephens Road as part of a project to widen Baston Road, according to a news release.

Those wishing to travel through the area at the time of the paving will be detoured down Stephens Road to Old Ferry Road, to Baston Road and back to Old Petersburg.

Man gets year in jail in illegal gun purchase

A Gaffney, S.C., man was sentenced to a year in prison Thursday for attempting to illegally purchase a firearm, Interim U.S. Attorney for South Carolina Scott Schools said.

Nick Arthur Alverson, 42, was sentenced in federal court in Anderson after he admitted to trying to purchase a gun at a Gaffney gun shop last year. Mr. Alverson was not allowed to purchase a gun because of a previous felony conviction, Mr. Schools said.