AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)– The shooting Friday night at Carrie J. Mays Park– one person died, and two others were injured and now in the hospital.
17-year old Antonio Sheppard was arrested Saturday and charged with murder. Sheppard appeared in court earlier today.
NewsChannel 6 spoke with the district Commissioner of that area. Dennis Williams along with neighbors used strong words to describe this crime and issue– calling it an “epidemic” that needs to end.
“It’s become like a war zone. You think Syria and all of them have a crisis over there? We’ve got a crisis right here in Augusta,” Frederick Perry, a neighbor, said.
Perry has lived in the neighborhood surrounding Carrie Mays Community Center for decades. He said he’s now afraid to go anywhere around his home besides work.
“Look at how many shootings and killings we’ve had. Look what happened in Carolina. Look what happened in Deans Bridge Road. Look what happened out on Sullivan Road. Somebody has got to come to their senses,” Perry said.
Commissioner Dennis Williams said there is always going to be people illegally selling weapons to minors and stealing guns.
He believes the current discipline protocol for minors may not be the best solution to end crime.
“What can the courts do? We need to look at our jail system and try to come up with some different activity versus putting a child in jail. Maybe we need to go back to the old form. When I was a kid, when committing certain crimes, instead of going to jail, you go into the army,” Commissioner Williams said.
“We need to be more communicative with the Sheriff’s department. Let them know what’s going on. They have a big job. I understand that. If we as citizens don’t speak up, nothing is ever going to be solved,” Perry said.
Commissioner Williams said adults pave the way for the younger generation. He said kids are always watching, so it’s crucial for adults to be a positive influence and pass it on to minors.
“We’re not going to reach all of them. Just take the ones you can reach, and try to work on them and try to be a good example,” Commissioner Williams said.
Antonio Sheppard had his first court appearance today. The judge did not set bond, and the case now moves on to Superior court.
NewsChannel 6 asked the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office if this shooting incident could have been gang related. The spokesperson could not comment on the motive behind the shooting, and says its currently still under investigation.
We’re continuing to follow this story and will update you as more information becomes available.