AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)– In January alone, there were five homicides in Richmond County. Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree says that’s more than double the monthly average. He says to curb these violent crimes, the community has to work with his office.
The five homicides in 2022 include Augusta’s first murder of the year, the shooting death of 8-year-old Arbrie Anthony. Richmond County Sheriff’s Office says her murder was gang related.
”It’s so senseless that she lost her life to something that just didn’t make no sense,” Arbrie’s aunt Jamila McDaniel told NewsChannel 6.
Sheriff Roundtree says most of January’s homicides were drug, gang, or domestic violence related.
Richmond County’s latest shooting victim is 20-year-old Kevin Coatney who was killed outside 706 Lounge in the early morning hours of Sunday. Three others were also shot.
“This last homicide that we had, this mass shooting where over 100 people are out in the parking lot and a car comes by and shoots three people and kills one, and we have yet to have a description of a vehicle. Out of 100 people who were present there, we have not had one person come forward to even tell us a description of the vehicle. Now that is sad. That is a culture of silence that is going to lead to more death and more destruction within our community,” Sheriff Roundtree said.
The sheriff says he needs the community’s help working together to send a message that it won’t tolerate crime, and there will be consequences when there is crime.
“Now we’re seeing these perpetrators of these violent acts, especially these homicides, are becoming younger and younger. Unfortunately, it’s starting to isolate itself into the African American community. What we’re seeing now that most victims of homicides and the perpetrators of these homicides are young African American males. And that’s something that really concerns us,” Sheriff Roundtree said.
NewsChannel 6 spoke with Kevin Coatney’s mother, and she echoes the sheriff’s pleas about gun violence in Augusta.
“This gun violence has got to stop. You’re hurting so many families,” Artia Jones said.
If you have any information on the 706 Lounge shooting, you’re encouraged to call the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office and you can remain anonymous.
All victims of the 706 Lounge shooting were underage. Sheriff Roundtree says the investigation is ongoing, and the sheriff’s office will recommend the Augusta-Richmond County Commission suspend 706’s liquor license.