AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – The Augusta D.A. is responding to recent violent crimes in the city. Five suspected gang members accused of the shooting death of 8-year-old Arbrie Anthony are now all in jail. The case has been turned over to a newly formed violent crimes unit.

“I keep this on my desk , it serves as a reminder of what we’re fighting for,” said Jared Williams, Augusta District Attorney.

A fight for the community’s safety. That purple bow tie was given to District Attorney Jared Williams by Arbrie Anthony’s father. Her case is one of the first to be turned over to the newly formed violent crime unit.

“What we’ve done is, we’ve created a major crimes division, and that major crimes unit is comprised of two specialized trial units. One is the violent crimes unit and one is the special victims unit,” said Williams.

The special victims unit will focus on crimes against some of our most vulnerable populations like children and the elderly. Williams says this unit was a part of his initiative when he was first sworn into office.

During an interview back in 2019, he said, “Sex crimes, high level narco-trafficking, crimes that involve the sanctity of the home residential crimes, burglaries. I’ve got no tolerance for them and we are going to build an office that reflects that.”

Williams says that adding a narco division to the violent crimes unit will be in the works once staffing is substantial. Right now he’s focused on giving victims the attention their cases deserve.

Williams says, ‘”We want to protect this community and we can’t do that if the same prosecutors that’s handling a murder case also has to go handle a shoplifting case or a marijuana case. That is the way that this office was structured before and so now by taking specialization and saying we’re going to have dedicated prosecutors working on violent crimes and dedicated veteran prosecutors working on special victims crimes.”

The DA is calling this crime unit the most aggressive step to combat violence in Augusta, and this comes at a time when it’s needed the most.

“Before this weekend we were down three homicides from where we were last year. And within a matter of five days we’re two over from where we were last year,” said Richmond County Sheriff, Richard Roundtree.

And while both the DA’s and Sheriff’s office are ramping up their efforts to keep the city safe, they say it’ll take a community effort.

“We need the whole community to work on this. The criminal justice system is not equipped to fix all of these issues, but the things we can fix the ways that we can improve our investigations, the way that we can improve our prosectutions. We have to do that,” he said.