Residents' anger boils at police

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Supporters of Justin Elmore say it doesn't matter if he has a lengthy criminal record or what he might have done to provoke sheriff's deputies Sunday -- they still had no right to shoot him.

"They gonna kill everybody with a record?" said Sha'keela McNair, 22, who identified herself as Mr. Elmore's girlfriend. "They shot him for nothing. He didn't have no gun."

After an accidental fire broke out at an apartment and once again drew police and fire trucks into the housing project Monday, angry residents of Cherry Tree Crossing and surrounding neighborhoods gathered at the place where Mr. Elmore's SUV came to a stop near 15th Street and Carver Drive. It wasn't far from where a throng of people had hurled bottles and rocks at police cars in the hours after the shooting.

"This ain't nothing," Cruz Sharpton, 22, said of the bedlam. "It's just beginning."

It was a sentiment echoed by several people.

They said they don't trust the police, and they're fed up with what they perceive as harassment, racial profiling and a cavalier attitude toward the poor and powerless.

"You've got to figure, these people are close," said Frank Thomas, the executive director of the Augusta-Richmond County Human Relations Commission. "That's their area. Sometimes they don't trust the police, and the police have their job to do."

Friends of Mr. Elmore said he goes by Jed, is a construction worker and has three children -- a 2-year-old daughter and two sons, ages 1 and 6 months.

Ms. McNair said he was shot in his head and chest, and his mother is keeping vigil at Medical College of Georgia Hospital.

"I put (the police) at fault for everything that happened," said Ashley Brown, 22, who lives in an apartment near the spot where police cars boxed in Mr. Elmore's SUV on Sunday before the shooting erupted. "They should have done the pursuit better than that."

A few doors down, Tavares Green is still furious, too.

During the shooting, two bullets went into his girlfriend's apartment, whizzing within inches of his 8-month-old son and 8-year-old daughter.

Mr. Green showed a reporter the bullet holes in a glass window and a wood front door, and where they lodged in a Sheetrock wall and hit a stereo speaker.

"They could have shot her in the back," said Mr. Green, a city employee in the roads and bridges division. "My little boy's head could have been bust open."

Mr. Thomas said he was unsure what position the Human Relations Commission will take on the matter.

The city cut the commission from next year's budget, and he's working to close all pending cases so the office can be shut down by the end of February.

Otherwise, he would be involved, Mr. Thomas said, helping to "sift through the smoke" and find out whether police overstepped their bounds.

After the 1998 killing of Alfaigo Davis, a similar incident in which police shot a man they said was trying to run them over, Mr. Thomas called for a police review board, which was rejected by Sheriff Charlie Webster. The two officers were later cleared of any wrongdoing.

Had the review board not been rejected, it might have built up credibility by now and could come in handy, Mr. Thomas said.

"People become emotional when things like that happen," he said. "Maybe they need some help. Maybe they need some kind of counseling."

Reach Johnny Edwards at (706) 823-3225 or johnny.edwards@augustachronicle.com.

CHERRY TREE CROSSING

With 389 apartments and 1,018 residents, Cherry Tree Crossing is the city's largest public housing project, one of 13 federally funded developments providing affordable housing to low-income families and elderly residents. The average household income in Cherry Tree Crossing is $7,917. Apartments there range from one to five bedrooms.

Cherry Tree was formed through the merging of two developments, Sunset Homes and Sunset Homes Extension, constructed in 1940 and 1952. After renovations in the early 1990s, the two parts were renamed Cherry Tree Crossing and Cherry Tree Crossing Extension. They were merged into a single project last year.

The section along Carver Drive, where the shooting occurred Sunday, is part of the newer section constructed in 1952.

For about $600,000 per year, the Augusta Housing Authority contracts with the Richmond County Sheriff's Office to provide 15 extra deputies to patrol housing projects.

The deputies involved in the shooting were part of "housing patrol."

BREAKDOWN OF CHERRY TREE RESIDENTS BY AGE

0-6 years old 301

7-18 years old 302

19 and older 415

BREAKDOWN OF RESIDENTS BY RACE

Black 1,006

White 11

Other 1

Source: Augusta Housing Authority Director of Resident Services Buddy Oldfield

RELATED STORIES

- Sheriff defends deputies

- Residents' anger boils at police

- Shooting recalls 1998 case

PREVIOUS STORIES

- Shooting triggers chaos

- Deputies use caution


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terry67
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terry67 12/16/08 - 09:31 am
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A few doors down, Tavares

A few doors down, Tavares Green is still furious, too.

During the shooting, two bullets went into his girlfriend's apartment, whizzing within inches of his 8-month-old son and 8-year-old daughter.

Mr. Green showed a reporter the bullet holes in a glass window and a wood front door, and where they lodged in a Sheetrock wall and hit a stereo speaker.

"They could have shot her in the back," said Mr. Green, a city employee in the roads and bridges division. "My little boy's head could have been bust open

So who did that? Police or thugs? My money is on thugs who did it for no other reason than because they can.

The reporter on TV called Elmore a "victim" what B.S.! He is no victim - I'm sure some NAACP lawyer is ready to sue for this poor persecuted thug.

The police need to seek out the mob, EVICT THEM, JAIL THEM!
No second chances.

Augusta the Garden City.....More like the Jungle.

wizzardx1
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wizzardx1 12/16/08 - 09:33 am
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If the people responsible for

If the people responsible for all the damages were made to pay restitution, where would the money come from-MORE crime. Steal more cars, sell more drugs, rob more businesses to pay the restitution. But as we all know- "It's Bush's fault" or "It's the white's fault" It's everyone ELSE's fault NOT the criminals.

truthisouttherestill
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truthisouttherestill 12/16/08 - 09:37 am
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anyone identified as being

anyone identified as being responsible for throwing objects at the police and fire department personnel, and those found to have started the fires should be kicked out of the housing they have there and lose their government checks......put them homeless on the streets

JohnQPublic
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JohnQPublic 12/16/08 - 09:43 am
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Elmore's girlfriend living in

Elmore's girlfriend living in the projects on welfare while he drives and upscale and modified suv? Something is wrong with that picture. Does he live there too? It's past time to remove the government paycheck from folks who are double dipping. There sure were a lot of seemingly able-bodied young folks on those videos. How did they get welfare? Where did Elmore work? I'm fed up with the folks blaming the cops for doing their job. You deal in drugs and weapons, we need to get you off the street! We are not playing by your thug rules, you are playing by ours!

yak11
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yak11 12/16/08 - 09:44 am
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What wastes of human skin

What wastes of human skin

politicallyNcorrect1
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politicallyNcorrect1 12/16/08 - 09:46 am
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QUOTE:Had the review board

QUOTE:Had the review board not been rejected, it might have built up credibility by now and could come in handy, Mr. Thomas said.UNQUOTE: You think these residents who are defending this guy would care what a review board would say? That's silly..if the board came back & said the shooting was justified they would say..you are acting white..you just doing what your told. These people can not be reasoned with, as far as they are concerened the police will always be wrong. You can not reason with people that do not want to. They just want to fight, point fingers. I guarantee you if ask Obama this question he would tell you, don't run, don't try & run over people. I do not like to sterotype people but when someone trys to run over deputies with a car & you think thats OK. This is why you get so much raciest sterotype's. If I seen a white man try to run over a cop..I would be yelling..SHOOT THAT IDIOT..White people don't try to help other white people who do such stupid craph. Hell I would shoot them if I had the chance. The black community (NOT ALL) always say it's because he's black. I got new for you,,if you try to run over a cop. BLACK or WHITE u r going 2 get shot

InChristLove
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InChristLove 12/16/08 - 09:47 am
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According to the address by

According to the address by the Sheriff, he said Officer Ortiz shot once in the windshield and once in the side window as the suspect fled pass. How in the world could two bullets fired into a vehicle gone through an apartment wall, door, or sheetrock also. Doesn't make sense. Especially since most defenders of the suspect seem to thing Mr. Hodge never fired his weapon. Where did the extra bullets come from?

JohnQPublic
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JohnQPublic 12/16/08 - 09:52 am
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The extra bullets came from

The extra bullets came from folks shooting up the neighborhood while all of this was happening. The residents switched the focus from what the perp was doing to what they felt like doing, which was to set stuff on fire and shoot their weapons. They (the resident who did the shooting) did not care if someone got shot. Time to clean that place out too and close it down. Right now, that housing area is a stronghold for a subculture of drug runners and thugs, and the women who let these men move in with them just for a couple of bucks and sex are stupid! How is T. Green, who is employed by the city, living with his girlfriend who is on welfare? Another example of bilking the system?

truthbeliever
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truthbeliever 12/16/08 - 09:53 am
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It's clear to me the officer

It's clear to me the officer was justified in firing at Mr. Elmore and the rioting is ridiculous. Why not bundle all the energy and excitement and clean up the neighborhood. To ram a police car and hope they'll just ignore it is about as foolish as you can get.
Why should they have waited and prayed he wouldn't open fire?
As an African-American, I am very much aware of police brutality and racial profiling against us. Every single African-american person I know has a story about themselves or someone close to them about victimization at the hands of caucasian law enforcement. My own personal experience is that I've had one incident where I was treated unfairly by a white officer, but I can recall at least 3 incidents where Afircan-American officers were close to being-if not outright, verbally abusive. And no I'm not a criminal, with the exception of having had a lead foot in my earlier years. Whether Mr. Elmore had an extensive criminal record is of little importance. It is evident that at least this occasion, he was a threat to himself and others. Rioters, there's no excuse for ocndoning someone's wrongdoing or hoping they'd have a better outcome in an ungodly situation.

JohnQPublic
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JohnQPublic 12/16/08 - 10:08 am
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At first the residents try to

At first the residents try to cry "race" but then had to change their story. The officers are hispanic and black. And then, why shoot up your own neighborhood and set things on fire in your own neighborhood? Why? Put down the booze, the pipe and whatever and get a job! Commissioners, close down that project!

JohnQPublic
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JohnQPublic 12/16/08 - 10:10 am
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Mr. Green said, "They could

Mr. Green said, "They could have shot her in the back," said Mr. Green, a city employee in the roads and bridges division. "My little boy's head could have been bust open." To Mr. Green I say, you have a job...marry the girl, get her off of welfare and move her and your son out of that hell hole and quit ripping off welfare!

Bacon Grease
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Bacon Grease 12/16/08 - 10:22 am
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What more can be expectected

What more can be expectected from a bunch of ignorant free loaders who have three generations or more living in a project. They speak like they are from a third world country and think everyone owes them something. I say shoot first ask questions later, hope the piece of crap dies and saves the tax payers from the hospital bill he obviously isnt going to pay.

Signal Always
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Signal Always 12/16/08 - 10:22 am
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Exactly, Coal. He has an 8

Exactly, Coal. He has an 8 year old daughter and an 8 MONTH old son with this woman and they still aren't married nor do they live with one another? Where the hell are his morals and standards? Where are hers? After he didn't marry her the first damn time, 8 years ago, what made her think he was going to marry her after this child? Or did it even matter? People, this has nothing to do with race. This is about a certain culture that was created and encouraged by liberals and runs counter to everything Dr. King stood for.

thinkaboutit2
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thinkaboutit2 12/16/08 - 10:29 am
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I think that the entire

I think that the entire situation is unfortunate. Yes, we have crime and generally crime just doesn't make sense, as in this case. My concern is that if these stray bullets did come from the police and if they had hit a true innocent victim (such as the children) then the police would accept the unfortunate mishap and deal with it appropriately. I have a hardworking elderly neighbor (not on welfare or anything like that) that was forced into bankruptcy when she was hit by a criminal being chased by the police. Since she was not "morbidly injured" then they were not responsible for any of her injuries or losses due to this event. This is tragic and I would like to see a better system in place for accidents like this (and stray bullets) involving the police. However, there can not be any cover ups when it comes to the police being at fault either. These so called investigations get me. People are going to protect themselves no matter what. I just hope the TRUTH comes out and everything is solved in a justified and dignified manner for all parties involved.

shamrock
585
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shamrock 12/16/08 - 10:33 am
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If someone is trying to run

If someone is trying to run me over with an SUV and I have a gun at my side ... guess what my next move will be?? It doesn't matter what anyone else says I also have a child and I'd like to attend his wedding and see my grandchildren. I'm sorry about the children of the guy trying to run me over but that is his problem ... not mine! Everyone else, not involved, needs to "butt out"!

GACopperhead
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GACopperhead 12/16/08 - 10:36 am
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It has been reported that

It has been reported that there were guns in the vehicle. Saw it on channel 6 this AM

withluvfromphotobug
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withluvfromphotobug 12/16/08 - 10:37 am
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In christlove. For your info

In christlove. For your info a bullet can go right through a wall and hit a car. It happened when my husband was showing a friend his gun and it accidently went off. They were standing in friends living room it went through wall out side and hit car and went through car. He was very inept to have this happen as he was in special forces (in special weapons) to have a gun go off like that. (doesn't matter, we're not married anymore, what a moron.) But yes it can and DOES happen.

stillamazed
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stillamazed 12/16/08 - 10:38 am
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Just goes to show the

Just goes to show the mentality of people.........I guess it is ok for criminals to come into their area where they live and bring the drugs and the violence, if he had gone down there and shot someone they would be blaming the police for not being there. A criminal is a criminal is a criminal. These folks need to open their eyes and see where the real blame lies. When someone is trying to run from the cops they are at fault and when the cops use deadly force they are justified. As far as the stray bullets go I'm not sure that was nessessary but once again blame the criminal for causing the whole thing to start with. And to Ms. McNair, you really show your ignorance with the "he didn't have no gun".......comment, and????????? He was still wrong, he put himself in that position, if he was all so innocent he would not have been running to start with. When a law enforcement officer says halt it means just that.

JohnQPublic
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JohnQPublic 12/16/08 - 10:39 am
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Signal, that's

Signal, that's right...suddenly the guy is worried about this woman and his children living in a bad area? Maybe they didn't get married all this time so they could keep double dipping...a job and welfare?! Hello Cherry Tree Crossing! We don't owe you a dang thing! Nothing! Nadda!

dale88fan
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dale88fan 12/16/08 - 10:40 am
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those people are nothing but

those people are nothing but ignorant jack[filtered word] ! all they do is take from society and expect everyone else to take care of them. I hope they burn down their own homes a get put out on the street. F$%%^ those idiots!

YESWECAN
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YESWECAN 12/16/08 - 10:42 am
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I kinda wish this issue would

I kinda wish this issue would go away...the residents in the neighborhood need to realize that Mr. Elmore provoked this incident. It's just that simple. If course I have an issue with opening fire in an area where small children and homes are nearby. I mean but put urself in the officers shoes. I would've shot my way out of there too. It's sad that it had to end this way. Mr. Elmore should have just accepted the fact that he was caught up and just went to jail. He know what it's like there so...no biggie!! But who am I to pass judgement?!! I just think that this is a sensitive issue and I can see both sides point of view. But at the end of the day Mr. Elmore's decision to ram his SUV cause the reaction of the officers. I mean Sunset is definitely ghetto. I don't see why anybody would want to raise their kids there anyway. I get u gotta do what it takes to make it but dang. like I always say...IF U KNEW BETTER U WOULD DO BETTER!! We just gotta accept that some ppl are comfy at the bottom. That's all they know and they like the thug lifestyle. It sucks but that's just how it is...u can't turn a hoe in2 a housewife...simple as dat.

YESWECAN
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YESWECAN 12/16/08 - 11:07 am
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As for SignalAlways...why is

As for SignalAlways...why is that people are always pushing that marriage issue. So what if he got an 8 yr old and 8 mth old and isn't married. Some people are happy the way they are. Maybe they tried to make it work and it didn't. Maybe they are still working at it. What's the difference in have 2 kids by a guy and no marriage...and marrying this wonderful guy have beautiful kids and 10 yrs later it all goes downhill...you get a divorce...and now you are raising 2 beauiful kids and no husband. There's no difference...they tried it and it didn't work. But I do praise Mr. Green for caring about his kids though. My fiance is the best but I have friends who weren't so lucky. Mr. Green and the kids mother aren't together but he still seems to b an active father even though he is not living in the home. So give credit when credit is due. That's better then having a daddy who you never see like I grew up. My father wasn't around and I don't think he cared. So kudos to Mr. Green!!

Signal Always
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Signal Always 12/16/08 - 11:17 am
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There are 8 damn years

There are 8 damn years between those two kids. Who are you trying to kid? ...and if they're not happy with that situation, fine. JUST STOP FORCING THE TAX PAYER TO PAY FOR THE *&^%*&!

JohnQPublic
5
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JohnQPublic 12/16/08 - 11:18 am
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YESWECAN...talk about a bunch

YESWECAN...talk about a bunch of bull! That's the way life is.... we take a chance. Be a man, step up to the plate and marry the girl. You "sound" like you are feeling guilty that you haven't. HOWEVER, the point was that if he was SO concerned about his children and "finacee" (Augusta talk for someone you have kids with and pretend you might marry someday, unless someone else comes along), he would have moved them out of there a long time ago. I'm sure that shooting has occurred in that area berfore. Heck, folks were shooting after the whole thing went down! Did Mr. Green take his kids and fiancee in the car and leave until it was safe to return? Oh yeah, he is so concerned!

Signal Always
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Signal Always 12/16/08 - 11:18 am
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If you don't see this "Baby

If you don't see this "Baby Daddy" culture as one that should bring shame to the community, then it's you that is the problem.

jackfruitpaper833
41
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jackfruitpaper833 12/16/08 - 11:23 am
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God in Jesus name thank you

God in Jesus name thank you for LIFE today, You've been good to me and I can't thank you enough.

dani
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dani 12/16/08 - 11:25 am
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Elmore had sons 1 month & 6

Elmore had sons 1 month & 6 months. Can we have more information on the woman that can have children that fast? Must be a first.

jackfruitpaper833
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jackfruitpaper833 12/16/08 - 11:27 am
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I think it's 1 year and 6

I think it's 1 year and 6 months if I read right.

dani
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dani 12/16/08 - 11:31 am
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Even so jacfruit, how do you

Even so jacfruit, how do you have a baby when you have one only 6 months old. Isn't the gestation period 9 months.

jackfruitpaper833
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jackfruitpaper833 12/16/08 - 11:34 am
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I don't know I always say,

I don't know I always say, Maybe God wanted it that way (children that close), we use to call them steps when a woman had children 2 years apart.

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