Two shot overnight on Broughton Street in Savannah - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Witnesses describe overnight shooting on Broughton Street

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Witnesses who saw the shooting called the scene graphic. Witnesses who saw the shooting called the scene graphic.

Savannah-Chatham Metro Police are investigating a shooting that happened overnight in downtown Savannah.  

It occurred at about 3 a.m. Friday at the intersection of Broughton and Jefferson streets. 

Police said Vaughn Cornelia, 20, was shot and was taken by an ambulance to Memorial University Medical Center for surgery. Mamie Smith, 20, suffered a non-life-threatening wound and was driven to the hospital by someone, according to police.

The extent of their injuries is not yet known, but witnesses who tried to help the victims told WTOC that one victim was grazed and the other was shot several times somewhere in the abdomen or chest area.

"A dude unfortunately got shot two times in the chest. He was responsive. I talked to a couple of officers and they said from previous experience that they've seen, he was going to be OK, but they said two of the bullets entered and almost exited out the back," said witness Jimmy Coughlin. "It was just chaos people getting pushed back. There was a group of like 20 people screaming at the guy that was lying down. It was a pretty horrific scene." 

It is believed that the victims were shot inside of their vehicle. A black Crown Victoria with several windows shot out was part of the roped off crime scene. That car has since been taken away.

Some witnesses said they initially thought a fight had broken out. Some said they saw the suspect approach the black Crown Victoria that was roped off and parked in the middle of Broughton Street for part of the morning and, through the car window, fire several gunshots.

They then reported watching the victims fall out of the car onto the ground. They described seeing a lot of blood and called it very graphic.

SCMPD Violent Crimes detectives are asking witnesses to step forward with details about the confrontation on West Broughton Street that led up to the shooting.


As many as 100 people were around Broughton and Jefferson streets just before 3 a.m. as the confrontation took place.

An officer was near the intersection when several shots were fired and he moved into the large crowd to find Cornelia being placed in a car.

He told them an ambulance was on the way and began first aid on Cornelia as other officers handled the unruly crowd and secured the scene, according to police.


Witnesses say it was absolute chaos after the shooting occurred.

Thursday night is normally a busy night downtown, so there were many witnesses who were all very shaken up. Some say they heard at least five gunshots fired.

"It was real quick - just pow, pow, pow, pow, pow - and then the cops came running. So we went back to our vehicles," said Chris Hanson, who witnessed the shooting

"I'm freaking, freaking. Nobody deserves to get shot in the middle of the street, that's ridiculous. But, I heard the shots, [and] saw the car go. It happened like that, and I just watched - that's all I could do," said witness Newton Owens.

The front windows of Urban Outfitters and the store next to it, American Craftsman, were shot out by stray bullets. 

"I was surprised, really surprised. We have a great area with a lot of foot traffic. We get a lot of tourism and we want to keep it that way," said Jane Gough, manager of American Craftsman.

The entire block of Broughton Street between Jefferson and Barnard streets was roped off for about three hours as police searched for clues and interviewed witnesses. The streets reopened around 6:30 a.m.  

Gunshots broke windows of two businesses. 

There is no information about a possible suspect at this time, but witnesses tell WTOC they saw a car speed off from the intersection of Broughton and Jefferson right after the shooting.


More officers were assigned to the hospital where several bystanders announced they would follow victims. No issues were reported there.

The investigation continues.

Anyone with information can call CrimeStoppers at 912.234.2020 or text CRIMES (274637). Tipsters remain anonymous and may qualify for a cash reward. 

A confidential tipline also is open directly to investigators at 912.525.3124.


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