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Victory Over Violence: Former Columbus drug dealer shares story of success in hopes of helping others

Updated: Feb. 20, 2020 at 9:38 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - The murder rate in Columbus, Georgia is increasing rather than declining like so many in the community are hoping for.

On Tuesday, February 19, the Fountain City saw its’ ninth homicide in 2020. That number is almost double the number of homicides compared to this time last year.

WTVM is committed to helping to bring about change in the community through our solutions-based campaign called, “Victory over Violence.”

Jermaine Morgan, 31, grew up in what many consider one of Columbus’ most notorious crime-infested neighborhoods, the historical Booker T. Washington Apartments (BTW).

It no longer exists at Veterans Parkway and 4th Street. The housing property was torn down and replaced with new apartments and new occupancy guidelines. But Morgan’s childhood memories will never fade.

"I had never seen anyone succeed besides selling drugs,” said Morgan. When he was just 11 years old, Morgan said he started doing what was considered the norm in his community.

“The temptation around you is so great,” said Morgan. "When I first started selling drugs, from time to time, I would rent a car from someone on drugs and I would ride around these neighborhoods like Green Island Hills and I would see fathers playing basketball with their children. I wanted that lifestyle, but I didn’t know how to go about getting it.”

Morgan eventually found a way out of that lifestyle, but not before going to jail several times and losing his best friend and older brother to gun violence.

"Before he got killed, I was at the peak of my drug selling career. I was making a quarter of a million dollars a year. I felt like I couldn’t be touched,” added Morgan.

In 2004, Morgan dropped out of school when he was in the 10th grade. It wasn’t until six years later that his life started to turn around when he reached out to a friend who’d been ministering to him about God.

“I was crying and I was thinking about killing myself. I was like, what do I need to do and she helped introduce me to Christ,” stated Morgan.

At that point, Morgan was at a crossroads and was finally about to embark on the road to success.

"My first job out of the streets selling drugs was at the Waffle House making $2 an hour. This is why most people go back. I think they’re not given opportunities. I never wanted anyone to give me a hand out. I wanted to make it on my own. I say this humbly, me and family, we travel now. We’ve been able to visit different countries and islands. This is all I wanted,” said Morgan.

In 2010, Morgan got his GED and went on to college where he played basketball at Columbus State University earning a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and even authored a book titled, “Destiny Child, Every Person Has A Purpose.”

Morgan is now enjoying life like he imagined as a kid along with his wife and son as a Columbus firefighter and real estate agent.

He said he hopes this story will make a difference in someone’s life.

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