Columbus community & leaders react to crime-ridden weekend

Published: Feb. 20, 2023 at 6:16 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - The City of Columbus is reeling from a weekend filled with gun violence.

A number of shootings taking place since Friday involving numerous teenagers, some of those turning deadly.

The chaos beginning Friday morning, with the most recent shooting being Sunday evening.

As of now, at least 5 people are dead, and a dozen injured... many of them children with the youngest person shot being just 5 years old.

Following this deadly weekend in the Fountain City, guns at the forefront of the violence, we’re working to get some answers from city leaders and find out what people who live here have to say.

“Somebody definitely has to do something to step up and curve this,” Columbus native Mason Humphries told News Leader 9′s Ashlee Williams.

A busy weekend for Columbus Police who responded to at least 8 different shootings, resulting in 5 deaths, one woman still in critical condition Monday after being shot in the neck and nearly a dozen juveniles injured.

Gaining national attention: the shooting spree Friday evening at a Shell Gas station off Warm Springs Road injuring 9 kids. The youngest: 5 years old who we’re told was with his family at the time, caught in the cross fire. Luckily, none of those gunshots resulting in any deaths.

“I was sickened by what happened,” Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson expressed. “It was made even worse from the number of individuals involved, and then the ages. Only by the Grace of God was there nobody killed. It frustrates me that there is a whole generation that can only validate their existence if they pull a trigger.”

As of Monday, Columbus Police tell us at least 4 out of the 9 kids involved have been released from the hospital.

“I just think it is crazy,” Humphries said. “We haven’t had a crime wave like this in as long as I can remember. The fact that all the juveniles being caught up in that is crazy to me. It shows a lack of human life.”

As for Kaitlin Craig, also a Columbus native, she said safety is a priority these days. She feels having an exit plan and being aware of her surroundings is key, as she often walks her dogs alone.

“Living Downtown in Columbus, it’s really scary,” Craig said. “A lot of the times, I have my dogs with me, and I hesitate to take them out. When it’s dark or in general, I like to have someone on the phone with me. It’s very concerning.”

Mayor Henderson told us Columbus Police and the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office are using all of their resources to find suspects. As of Monday, only one homicide suspect from the weekend shooting sprees is behind bars.

“This is not Columbus. This is unacceptable,” Mayor Henderson said. “We cut the homicide rate last year almost in half. Then you have a weekend like this there are still people out there making bad decisions with weapons on them.”

News Leader 9′s Ashlee Williams also spoke with Police Chief Freddie Blackmon who said none of these incidents so far show signs of gang relation or retaliation.

Stay with News Leader 9 for the latest updates in these cases.