Swainsboro Police chief: Recent shootings are gang-related

Updated: Oct. 5, 2018 at 4:13 PM EDT
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SWAINSBORO, GA (WTOC) - The Swainsboro Police Department and Emanuel County Sheriff’s Office are investigating after multiple people were shot on Lucky Street.

Police say four victims were just grazed by the bullets and everyone is expected to recover. Two others were injured in a car crash related to the violence. Officials say the shooting is gang-related and is connected to a shooting that took place Wednesday night where one person was injured in a shooting at Project and Lewis streets.

One of the people injured Thursday night is a 59-year-old man. He was holding his 11-year-old granddaughter who was also shot. Police say the man may never walk again.

One girl who lives in the area tells us she and her family are scared, and she did not want to show her face on camera. She watched the drive-by shooting unfold and watched her 11-year-old friend get grazed by a bullet.

“By the time she tried to run in the porch, her grandpa couldn’t get up at the time and he got shot in the leg,” she said.

“We thought it was fireworks. When we saw a dude come in the road and start shooting, that’s when we were like, ‘oh hey, shooting,' and they told us to get down and run in the house and when we ran in the house, my mama told us to get down on the ground.”

Swainsboro Police Chief Randy J. Ellison said they have made arrests in these shootings. He also said the people involved in these crimes are gang members in the area and outside of the area.

They have also charged the people that have been arrested and two of them are juveniles.

"The big question is, what are we going to do? We got our game plan and I can tell you if I lived in that neighborhood, I would be scared. I would love to be able to tell you they shouldn’t be scared but we’ve had too much. We’re going to beef up patrols, you’re going to see officers riding double, you’re going to see officers on foot, you’re going to see officers communicating with people of the public trying to make a connection,” Ellison said.

That’s the chief’s response to people living in fear of retaliation in these neighborhoods every day.

“They said it’s not over after that shooting last night. They said it’s not over.”

Some of the charges that are pending include aggravated assault, possession of a firearm, and other charges like cruelty to children and aggravated battery.

“We cannot allow this kind of behavior, these kinds of incidents and injures, but for the grace of God we don’t have a fatality,” said Sheriff J. Tyson Stephens, Emanuel County. “Out of all the victims, we don’t have a fatality, but we’ll do whatever we need to do to make this community feel safe again.”

Law enforcement held a news conference at 2 p.m. on Friday. You can watch the entire event below:

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