Witnesses say police took 15 minutes to respond to shots fired on W. Jones St.

Published: Oct. 13, 2022 at 12:20 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Gunshots in downtown Savannah yesterday during the lunch hour have residents concerned about the increasing gun violence across the city.

“It stays with you,” said a woman, who described the mayhem that unfolded on West Jones Street.

At about 12:15 pm on Wednesday, she and others who spoke to WTOC News said they heard six to seven gunshots as a car drove past. It happened in the same block of Mrs. Wilkes Dining Hall, a popular tourist destination in downtown Savannah.

“Everyone in Mrs. Wilkes’ line threw themselves to the ground. People were screaming and crying. I thought someone had been shot because everyone was lying on the ground,” the woman said.

Surveillance video provided to WTOC News shows a line of people waiting outside the restaurant when a white SUV drives past. A passenger inside of the SUV hangs out of the window and appears to point a gun at the car behind it. At least six gunshots are heard on the video.

One witness interviewed by WTOC says both drivers sped away on Whitaker Street.

The woman who saw the shooting said she called 911 and ran across the street to check on people.

No one was hurt, she said.

“I really thought everyone was shot,” she said. “These people were standing within feet of the shooting car. I just think that’s alarming for them and the city.”

She’s also concerned about how long it took for the first police officer to arrive at the scene. She and others WTOC spoke to said it took more than 15 minutes after the 911 call.

A spokeswoman for Savannah Police says officers were immediately dispatched to the area after a ShotSpotter call and several 911 calls. Based on the information they received, officers already knew no one was injured so they searched for the suspected vehicles. They did not find the suspect’s vehicle. No arrests have been made and police did not release a vehicle description.

The gunfire on West Jones Street is in addition to two shootings Savannah Police have responded to this week in which someone was shot. The number of shootings across the city has surpassed 100 for the year, according to police data analyzed by WTOC Investigates.

“I’m afraid this is happening so often that we’re becoming so used to it,” said the woman, who witnessed the shots fired on West Jones Street.

WTOC is not revealing the identities of those who witnessed the gunfire because they said they fear for their safety.