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Teenager killed after shooting at house party in Claxton

Published: Jan. 16, 2022 at 9:13 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 17, 2022 at 5:05 AM EST

CLAXTON, Ga. (WTOC) - UPDATE: The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) said 18-year-old Erick Brown, Jr. was shot and killed at a house party in Claxton Saturday night.

Investigators say the incident occurred around 10:30 p.m. Saturday at 2790 Caddie Green Road. Brown was pronounced dead at the scene.

Preliminary information indicates there were numerous fights at the party. No arrests have been made at this time, and the investigation is ongoing.

*Brown was initially listed as 15 years old in a news release from the GBI. That has since been updated to show that Brown was 18 years old.

ORIGINAL STORY:

One person is dead after gunfire erupted at a house party in Claxton.

Sheriff Mac Edwards tells WTOC that gunshots were exchanged at a house party on Caddie Green Road, off of Highway 301 North of Claxton around 10 p.m. Saturday.

Sheriff Edwards says the GBI is handling the investigation.

An 18-year-old who was passing by the party says someone shot at his truck, and he was just lucky to make it out.

“I was just...I didn’t know what to think. I couldn’t comprehend what was going on at the time. I knew I was getting shot at but I was like wow...I’m really getting shot at,” said Ashton Croft, a witness to the shooting.

Ashton Croft is 18 years old. He grew up in this town.

“It’s wild because I never would’ve thought in a million years it would happen right here,” he said.

Croft lives in Springfield, but he was coming in town to see his uncle. He says he was passing by the house party with three other passengers, until he hit a car that stopped in front of the house. He says one person in the other car took off running while the driver started shooting.

“When we hit him, they rolled a little bit and I went to throw the truck in park to see if they were okay and they started shooting at us.”

Croft’s father showed us the damage and bullet holes in the truck. He said his son was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“First thing I thought was, because he grabbed me and hugged me and started crying... I’m thinking, what in the world happened?” said James Croft, Ashton’s father.

The son and father said this has always been one of the quietest areas of Evans County.

“It was just...it just came as a shock to me because this is my safe place...this is where I feel safe,” said Ashton Croft.

His dad said he couldn’t be more proud of how quickly he got out.

“I’m thankful to the Lord that my son is still with me today and I told him I can replace my truck. I can replace a lot of things, but I can’t replace him.”

And he said if you’re a parent, you need to let your child know everyday you love them.

“You just never know when he or she is not gonna come home or you scared they might not come home.”

We also got a statement from former NAACP Board Member, Mayor Eddie Ball of Daisy on crime in the county.

This is a developing story. WTOC will provide updates as they become available.

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