9 juveniles injured in shooting at gas station on Warm Springs Rd. in Columbus

Published: Feb. 18, 2023 at 10:32 AM EST|Updated: Feb. 20, 2023 at 4:15 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Nine juveniles were injured in a late night shooting on Warm Springs Road in Columbus.

The Columbus Police Department held a press conference on this incident on Feb. 18 - the full press conference can be watched below:

On Friday, February 17, at approximately 10:11 p.m., the Columbus Police Department’s Patrol Unit was dispatched to the 4400 block of Warm Springs Road - the Shell Gas Station - in reference to a shooting.

Upon arrival, officers say they found several gunshot victims and a large group of people.

Members of CPD’s Robbery and Assault Unit responded to the scene and assumed the investigation.

Authorities say nine victims, all under the age of 18, are being treated for non-life threating injuries at local hospitals.

The victims are as follows:

  • Male, 5
  • Male, 12
  • Female, 13
  • Female, 13
  • Male, 13
  • Male, 14
  • Male, 15
  • Male, 15
  • Male, 17

We were told four of the nine children have been released from the hospitals… according to Chief Freddie Blackmon there was a party just down the street where an altercation took place… it then led over to this gas station leaving nine children injured…

The entire Shell gas station off Warm Springs Road in Columbus was blocked off with crime scene tape Friday night as dozens of law enforcement officials from the Columbus police department and Muscogee Sheriff’s office were on scene.

Nine children were shot…Ranging from ages as young as five to 17 years-old… two girls and the rest boys. On Saturday morning, authorities were back at the scene where the shooting took place… taking pictures, conducting interviews and blocking off areas back up with crime scene tape.

According to Police Chief Freddie Blackmon, an altercation took place at a nearby party… and continued over to the gas station.

“The five-year-old was at the gas station with a family member and was not at the particular location where the party was taken place,” said Police Chief Freddie Blackmon.

Mayor Skip Henderson said the gun violence needs to end. He said they must continue to put resources into programs and organizations that provide a positive outlet for their energy.

“I just get tired of see folks when they have a disagreement or an argument or maybe even a fist fight, they think they have to reach for a gun and go to deadly force that’s just got to stop,” said Mayor Skip Henderson.

Chief Blackmon said all parents need to make sure they know where their children are and what they have in their possession.

“There is a better way to resolve a difference then resulting to gunfire…We will work and utilize all of our resources as we work to bring this case to a successful resolve... We are committed to ensure that we find person or persons responsible for this senseless crime,” said Police Chief Freddie Blackmon.

Chief Blackmon says its going to take a community effort to combat gun violence in the city… we will continue to keep you updated on the ongoing investigation.

“The rash of gun violence involving our youth is impacting communities across the country,” said Columbus Police Chief Freddie Blackmon. “While Columbus is not immune to these incidents, I want to assure citizens that the men and women of CPD are tirelessly working to get violent offenders off our streets. It is going to take a community effort to combat gun violence in our city. The entire village has a responsibility because incidents like this impacts all of us.”

Despite what happened, the parking lot at the gas station was full of customers Saturday morning. One of those customers, Hope Jones says her and her husband were already headed there when they found out about Friday evening’s shooting. Because it happened at night, she said she felt comfortable going back to the location during the day. Though she sympathizes with the family of the children injured in that shooting, she believes children should NOT be out during those hours in Columbus.

“It’s just best not to be out here in the streets at night. It’s just best to be, you know, in the house and have your kids in the house,” said Jones. ““How are you shooting and it’s kids around? Like it don’t even make sense.”

Jones says her and husband often have conversations with their children about how dangerous the city is.

Pat Hugley-Green, Chairwoman of the Muscogee County School Board also gave her thoughts on the violent shooting.

She echoed the same sentiments of Columbus Police Chief Freddie Blackmon. She says moving forward to stop the violence will require help from the entire community. She not only encourages youth to make good decisions, but she also encourages parents to foster positive environments.

“We all need to make some different choices and put the character and put integrity back at the forefront because our children and our families are depending on that,” said Green.

Green says the school district cannot confirm if any children injured attended local schools until they reopen Tuesday.

No arrests have been made at this time. Anyone with information on this case is urged to call Det. E. Rosado at 706- 225-3162