Independence Day shooting has Augusta’s Riverwalk business-owners considering closing their doors permanently


AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – WJBF NewsChannel 6 is learning more about Augusta’s Independence Day shooting.

The 4th of July shooting has some Riverwalk business-owners worried about the future of their establishments.

30-year-old Clinton Coleman, of Augusta, is in custody at Augusta University Medical Center. Richmond County Deputies say Coleman fired several shots at Monday nights Riverwalk fireworks show. The 30-year-old is facing several charges including Aggravated Assault and Possession of a Firearm during a crime.

Now the 4th of July shooting has some Riverwalk business-owners worried about the future of their establishments. After the Independence Day violence WJBF NewsChannel 6 is digging deeper to find out how businesses are planning to recover.

Most of the people who work in the businesses, near the Riverwalk, also live in the Garden City. While some employees say they aren’t worried about business, some business-owners are thinking of closing their doors permanently because they don’t see things getting better in Augusta.

Augusta’s Riverwalk is a place to enjoy an afternoon stroll, a place you can catch some live music or even see the sky light up on 4th of July. But on Independence Day many people weren’t expecting what would happen next.

“I don’t think it will necessarily happen again [the shooting], but I think precautions will be taken next year, so this doesn’t happen.” Zhenya Townley, Assistant Manager of Boll Weevil, told WJBF News Channel 6.”

Following the firework show, on the Riverwalk, the scene turned violent when two men began firing shots at each other. Businesses like Mi Rancho and Beamie’s on the River acted on instinct to protect their customers and employees. “I know whenever the news got to us we closed right away.” Francis Smith, Manager and Bartender of Beamie’s on the River, said. “Probably started locking the doors.”

Even with the quick response by Richmond County Deputies and efforts to revive the Riverwalk, Smith says it’s been a slow summer. “I would have thought that we would have been a lot busier than we have been,” he told WJBF NewsChannel 6.

The owner of Ashton Brooke Limited told WJBF NewsChannel 6 after Monday night’s shooting she decided to keep her business closed. She says foot traffic has already been slow in the area, but after the Independence Day shooting she doesn’t believe it’s going to get any better.

While some businesses-owners are looking to relocate and close their doors completely, others have faith in the community that rallies behind building-up the heart of the Garden City.

“Maybe for the first couple of days it’s probably going to scare some families,” Smith said.

“I think those loyal to Downtown will probably still stick around.” Townley told WJBF NewsChannel 6.

At this time investigators are still looking for the second suspect. If you have any information or video that could help investigators we urge you to contact the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office.

Count on WJBF NewsChannel 6 to bring you the latest on this developing story. 

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