1 year after July 4th shooting, sheriff’s office still waiting for downtown precinct

AUGUSTA (WJBF) — It’s been nearly a year since shots rang out on Augusta’s Riverwalk during last year’s July 4th celebration.

Three people, along with one of the suspected shooters, were injured when investigators say 31-year-old Clinton Coleman opened fire into the crowd near the Unisys building.

A man was able to tackle Coleman to the ground and get his gun away from him.

Another citizen, who was armed, fire several shots at the second shooter.

The second shooter got away and still hasn’t been identified.

The city of Augusta plans to hold its annual Independence Day Celebration next Tuesday at the Augusta Common.

Fireworks will be shot at dark from the 5th Street Bridge.

Many people watch them from the Riverwalk.

Deputies say people shouldn’t be afraid to attend this year as they will be patrolling to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again.

Last year, Joseph Ham was on Broad Street as the shooting unfolded.

“I was downtown with a few friends and we just started hearing a bunch of gun shots and we all just started running,” Ham said.

Investigators say Coleman and a second person started firing shots at each other in a crowd.

One woman was hit in the face by a bullet fragment. Coleman was also shot.

“We were never able to identify the other suspect involved. We reached out to the public. We asked for more information. That case kind of went cold on us. But this year we will have plenty of presence there. We don’t anticipate any kind of problems. I do think last year’s incident was pretty unique,” Lt. Allan Rollins said.

Rollins says the sheriff’s office will be in full-force for next week’s fireworks, but for Ham, the increased police presence won’t matter.

“Probably just stay home and avoid downtown. I’ll probably just grill out and just hang out at the house,” Ham said.

Meanwhile, the sheriff’s office is still waiting to move into its new downtown precinct in the Unisys Building, which is where last year’s shooting happened.

“The precinct is nearly complete so we should be moving into there pretty soon. We’re always pushing for more officers. We need more officers,” Rollins added.

“More patrolling to make people safer downtown. Because a lot of people come downtown at night time and that seems to be when people get attacked,” Ham said.

But Lt. Rollins says not to worry, as the sheriff’s office has plans in place and will continue to review them.

“We will keep making adjustments to it. We also look at the crime stats. If you look at the crime stats for that area, they are not real high,” Rollins said.

Coleman is still in jail. He has already been indicted on several charges including two counts of Aggravated Assault.

The sheriff’s office is still asking for the public’s help in identifying the second shooter.

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