AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – This week we’ve heard from Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree about how the public can help fight crime in Augusta.
Kevin Coatney has not been laid to rest as of yet.
Wednesday, we spoke with his mother Artia Jones as she was planning for his services.
The 20-year-old was shot and killed outside of the 706 Lounge located off of Deans Bridge Road.
Jones says he shouldn’t have been there in the first place, but she also says the club shouldn’t have been operating.
“I’m going out to get his suit and clothes, you know get everything prepared for his funeral arrangements,” said Artia Jones, Kevin’s mother.
Kevin Coatney would’ve been 21 on March 21st.
Instead of planning that birthday trip to Vegas he and his mother planned, she’s now planning his funeral.
“Every time that I try to attempt to do something or even think about, you know, me planning to bury my baby it’s sickening. It’s whole in my heart that’ll never be repaired,” said Jones.
She says she’s been asking God for strength daily and not just to get through her son’s death but also to fight for justice.
Jones says, “The guns is a big a problem.”
It’s not just the gun violence– Jones is still trying to figure out why her son was even allowed inside of the 706 Lounge.
“These club owners are saying things back, oh, it happened in the parking lot, I don’t care whether it happened in the parking lot, or inside the club, those children are there they’re underage you’re serving them alcohol. Once they got alcohol in their system, you don’t know what’s going through their minds, they get into with somebody angry, she said.
Jones says she also wants to know why there wasn’t any police presence outside of the club.
“As we were growing up they used to be at the door. They use to be there with flashlights. Where are you guys,” asked Jones.
NewsChannel 6 took those questions to city leaders.
“People would do the same when we were teenagers, we would get a fake ID and you can’t expect the club to be 100 percent sure about everybody that comes in,” said District 2 Commissioner Dennis Williams.
Commissioner Dennis Williams says the club cannot be held responsible for Kevin’s death. He says the recent rise in shootings and violent crimes is a product of the society we are living in.
“Television, games, all these things promotes violence and even maybe subconsciously convince our young people this is the course of action to take when your angry with someone,” says Commissioner Williams.
And as for a lack of police presence, he points to a shortage in law enforcement officers for that. Commissioner Francine Scott points to gun laws that just aren’t strict enough.
“I think we need to look at our gun laws and how these people are getting these guns. You can shut a club down, you can revoke their licenses, but if the gun is still on the streets, that’s what’s causing these killings,” said Commissioner Scott.
NewsChannel 6 also found out from the City’s spokesperson, Danielle Harris, that the club shouldn’t have been operating in the first place.
Harris says the 706 Lounge business owners did not have an active city business license.
The establishment was recently run by AEC Investment, and its license expired back in 2021.
The current owners of the club, The 6 Night Life, are currently awaiting approval; they applied for their state business license the day before Coatney was shot in the parking lot.