AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Arrests have been made following a deadly weekend in Augusta, but Chief Deputy Patrick Clayton with the Richmond County Sheriff’s office says they’re preparing for more violent crimes to come.
“We’re always devastated when we see young people being murdered on the street,” said Chief Deputy Patrick Clayton.
Two makeshift memorials now standing in honor of two young people who lost their lives as a result of gun violence this past weekend.
He says, “We’ve investigated, we’ve already made some arrests in both the shootings but that’s not what we want.”
The first shooting happening on Broad Street around 3 AM Sunday Morning. 21-Year-old Logan Etterle was pronounced dead on the scene.
“The one on Broad Street wasn’t really what I would call predicatable. It was a quickly escalating situation,” said Chief Clayton.
Then less than two hours later just a few miles away 19-year-old Jekwan Gunter was shot and killed on 11th and Grand. Gunter graduated from Lucy Laney High School just two weeks ago.
He says, “We believe that one was gang related.
“It really touched my heart to hear a young man of his age was shot and killed,” said Harriett Godsbee, who lives off 11th and Grand.
Deputy Clayton believes taking a tougher stance on repeat offenders could be an effective preventive measure.
“We’ve gotta really start looking at these chronic predatory offenders and if they’re going to use and carry guns. For example, when they know they don’t have the right to carry guns, because they’re a convicted felon, they need to be in jail. We need to incapacitate them and keep them off the streets where they can’t hurt anybody else,” he said.
Deputy Clayton says Richmond County also has long term preventative measures, and some are not taking advantage of the resources.
“We have a program called Augusta Giving Back. We identify the top 100 violators and the adults in juveniles that we believe are going to be involved in violent crimes. We actually approach them and say hey we believe you’re either going to be the victim or suspect because usually they’re the same,” he said.
Even with the two murders this past week, Deputy Clayton says homicides in Richmond are lower than in the past. He says in May there were no reported homicides. He says with a new gang investigation unit that trend will continue, but the community has to be on law enforcement’s side.
“Ashley, we’re doing our part and we have some of the best investigators and officers on our side and our clearance rates are second to none, but you’re right, all we’re doing is arresting somebody that’s going to wind up in prison and one other person is dead. But I would also say is one thing we can’t change is society,” Chief Clayton.