Thursday, June 13, 2024

Downtown shooting was bound to happen, business owners warn

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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – It’s been a couple of days since a chaotic downtown shooting sent three people – including 19-year-old suspect Amazing Brigham – to the hospital and had others running for their lives.

And the owners of several businesses on Broad Street say they’re tired of airing safety concerns but seeing nothing done about it.

They say they want more than talk from local leaders.

They want results, and the incident early Saturday may be a wake-up call.

Authorities said at least two people were involved in a gunfight at 10th and Broad streets, and at least one of them opened fire on a crowded sidewalk. Nearby deputies shot one of the gunmen, and two other people were injured.

Throughout the area, the shooting set off a panic inside and outside businesses.


Ask people who were nearby, and they’ll tell you that what happened will never truly go away for them.

Ask business owners and they’ll tell you this was bound to happen.

That’s the sentiment of downtown business owner Adrian Estrada.

“What about the rest of the year? Not just the summer and not just First Friday,” he said.

Sheriff Richard Roundtree held a news conference Saturday afternoon about the shooting, and he was confronted by Estrada.

“I’ve done nothing but call 911 over the last two months – and I’ve had over an hour response to whatever 911 call I’ve made,” he told Roundtree. “I have had a group of 100-plus people in front of my establishment after midnight.”

Roundtree eventually interrupted, saying: “You giving a statement, sir, or do you have a question?”

Estrada answered: “Well, yes, sir. What are you going to do for the future on weekends? Not only the summer; I’m talking about the whole year. This problem does not exist just in the summer. It has been going on all year long. And I have been vocal about it. And I have been very, very, extremely public about it. And nothing has been done till somebody got shot with an assault rifle. That’s a huge concern.”

It’s a shared concern; Estrada was joined by several other business owners.

“Well, I’m going to disagree with you on that. We have a presence downtown. Downtown is one of the safest places that we have in Richmond County,” Roundtree said.

That was followed by an exchange in which Roundtree and Estrada disagreed with one another.

Several bar owners downtown say they don’t want to talk about it anymore.

They want results.

And they want to feel safe walking the streets of downtown Augusta at all hours.

One business owner told News 12: “Every weekend, we just hold our breath and hope nothing bad happens.”

Roundtree and his agency are going to get some help, it seems. Mayor Garnett Johnson reached out to Gov. Brian Kemp to ask for some state reinforcements.

The state agreed to send Georgia State Patrol and Georgia Department of Natural Resources officers to help bolster local law enforcement.

It’s not clear when that will start.

Some of the business owners aren’t happy, but will the customers come back?

Juan Jose Rodriguez de la Rosa, the owner of Pineapple Ink Tavern, said: “Believe it or not business has been great.”

On Sunday, birds were chirping, people were biking, families were walking and restaurants were full of post-church crowds.

But it wasn’t normal for Zalundra Henry, who witnessed the shooting,

“It just seems as it’s another day happened and everybody is used to it, and we all go back to the same thing,” Henry said.

“I am still feeling a little shaken up,” Henry said. “It was crazy that night, actually.”

Pieces of Saturday still lingered in her mind

Seeing glass still on the sidewalk took her back.

Her mother, Garian Henry, called on elected officials to do something about it.

“Come forward and do something about this. This is not just a one-person thing. It affects everyone. They need to start having a curfew. They need to have things to deter young people from violence” she said.

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