Changing gun violence in Augusta means changing gun culture

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)– A shooting happened early this morning in Hephzibah. Two people were shot on Karleen Road.

They went to the hospital, but we don’t know how they’re doing now. We do know this is the second shooting involving more than one victim this week in Augusta.

No suspect information on the Karleen Road shooting has been released at this time.

Neighbors there say they’ve heard of the recent gun violence in Augusta but never imagined it would happen in their community.

To change gun violence, Richmond County deputies say we have to change gun culture.

“We have to create a culture where we make it plain and simple, that this kind of violence, this kind of gun-toting, is not acceptable,” Chief Patricjk Clayton with the Richmond COunty Sheriff’s Office said.

Although homicides are down in Augusta, gun-related assaults are on the rise.

Over the past week there have been shootings at Carrie Mays Park, on Lexington Way, on Sullivan Road, and Friday’s shooting on Karleen Road.

Chief Clayton said weapons, though, are not the issue– it’s how those weapons are obtained.

“We do live in a society where guns are accessible. I don’t think it’s about the guns, I think it’s about the purpose of the guns. When are you illegally carrying firearms, which the majority of these people are, it’s absolutely a big issue, and we have to address it,” Clayton explained.

Hector Soto lives behind Karleen Road, where Friday’s shooting was. He agreed that gun violence is getting out of hand.

“I don’t see anything wrong with the gun. It’s the people that carry it or buy illegally,” Soto said.

Soto said he owns a gun, but has never had to use it.

“It’s just for protection– house protection. But if someone comes in my house, I’m not going to kill them. Shoot them in the leg,” Soto told NewsChannel 6.

Chief Clayton said violence that young people see and hear every day on TV, the radio and in their neighborhoods is partially to blame.

“Usually when they carry firearms and are used the way they have been used, it’s a temporary solution to a problem that’s going to be long term. It’s going to have ramifications like they will never imagine,” Clayton said.

Clayton said shooters and gunshot victims are usually males between the age of 16 and 30. To tackle this gun culture, deputies have been aggressively patrolling areas where the greatest amount of crime occurs.

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