AUGUSTA (WJBF-TV) — The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office met with the Downtown Development Authority Thursday morning about the July 4th Shooting on the Augusta Riverwalk.
“The sheriff looks at the downtown as kind of the lifeblood of Augusta and obviously we put a high priority on making sure that it’s safe and secure,” Chief Deputy Patrick Clayton said.
Clayton told all the downtown stakeholders that he believes there’s not a crime problem in the heart of the Garden City.
“Augusta is a relatively safe city. The whole reason we’re even talking about this is because an event like that downtown is an aberration. It’s abnormal. We don’t have those kinds of events occurring downtown normally,” he said.
It’s an opinion that the DDA shares. The agency’s executive director says downtown is thriving and that space is limited at this time.
“We’ve been concentrating on getting people living downtown. That’s important. That’s when your retail element will pop. When you have a lot of people living downtown,” Margaret Woodard said.
As downtown keeps growing, the sheriff’s office is now looking at new security measures for the area, like a substation in the Unisys building.
“We’re always compelled to review these incidents and look at them. And we have come up with some ideas to institute some new security procedures for all of our major events. We’re always looking to enhance our security,” Clayton said.
The new plan includes more deputies undercover and in-uniform at events downtown.
The sheriff’s office would like cameras installed downtown, but that could cost anywhere from $300,000 to $1,000,000.
Despite the proposed changes, Clayton says he’s happy with how the sheriff’s office handled the Fourth of July Shooting.
“We had a deputy that was there within 30 seconds. I think that’s an outstanding response for an event like that,” Clayton said.
The first suspect, 30-year-old Clinton Coleman, is still in jail facing charges of Aggravated Assault, Possession of a Weapon and Theft.
The second gunman is still on the loose.
If you have any information about him, please call the RCSO at (706) 821-1000.