AUGUSTA, GA ( WJBF) – Saturday, the Augusta Pride Festival will be back in full swing, but two shootings just a week apart on Broad Street are raising concerns about safety.
“All events and festivals that are held at the Augusta Common use security by the Richmond County Sheriff’s department,” Former Pride President and current budget director James Mintz said.
Event organizers said deputies will be at the Common for both the Beats on Broad and Pride Festival.
While there has been recent violence in the downtown area, they don’t want that to stop people from coming and enjoying the event.
“We’re not going to use fear to prevent us from showing up and showing out. Its visibility that’s very important to our organization and our needs to stay relevant and present in the community.”
Janice Allen said while the recent shootings won’t stop her from attending events downtown, she feels we need to address violence in the community.
“I think we need to invest more in people particularly young people to make sure that they understand that they have other options and alternatives to resorting to violence,” Allen said.
We also spoke to a local downtown business owner, a boarded up window in the front of her business is the result of a chase between and suspect and Richmond county deputy.
“The cops caught the guy and as he was catching him, he kind of went through the window,” Brandi Gibson said.
She said its the first time anything like this has happened.
“I was shocked. I’ve been here a year. I’ve been in business seven years and been downtown a year and nothing has happened, and we’ve had no incidents of any kind.”
She said though the area has seen recent violence, she doesn’t believe its reflective of downtown as a whole.
“People are just out trying to have a good time and unfortunately there are bad apples in any group in any city. So, it’s bound to happen, but I do wish that as a community we could come together.”